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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published August 13 2013

Grand Forks team finds itself in national tourney for second straight season

GRAND FORKS – There was recurring advice as Jaxon Kriewald and his teammates prepared for a trip to Boston last summer to play in the Cal Ripken national 12-year-old baseball tournament.

Enjoy the moment, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience playing in a national tournament, the baseball players were told.

“We heard it a lot, from our coaches and our parents,” Kriewald said. “They all told us to enjoy it. We never thought we’d make it back. It was hard.”

For the Grand Forks Storm, however, the national tournament wasn’t a once-in-lifetime event. Instead, they’re heading to nationals for the second time in two summers. After winning the Midwest Plains regional, Grand Forks qualified for the Babe Ruth 13-year-old World Series.

The trip is much closer this time. Instead of Boston, the Storm are headed to Williston, where the tournament opens Saturday. Grand Forks gets a day off on Saturday and then meets host team Williston in pool play at

8 p.m. Sunday.

The Storm lost to Fargo in the Babe Ruth state championship game. But Babe Ruth rules allow the host team and the champion of the host state to get automatic berths in the World Series.

The Storm represented North Dakota in the regional and won the title, outscoring four teams 31-11. “There was some luck for us,” Salquist said of qualifying for the Midwest Plains regional. “But we had to earn our way to nationals by winning the regional. ”

Greg DeVillers is a reporter

for the Grand Forks Herald