State A Baseball Recap
Posted 6/06/16 (Mon)
The 2015-2016 high school sports season is over. Soon legion baseball teams will unite and all-star games will commence.
The athletics year did not come to an end without a bang. Class A baseball, class A softball, class B baseball, class B softball and class A girls soccer all wrapped up with post-season tournaments Saturday. Congratulations to all the teams that competed.
We were stationed in Jamestown for the class A baseball tournament in Jamestown. Out of the west the Century Patriots came in as the #1 seed, followed by the Bismarck Demons, Dickinson Midgets and Williston Coyotes. Out of the east West Fargo Sheyenne was the one, Davies the two, West Fargo three and Fargo South owned the final slot after an impressive performance in the EDC tournament. The Bruins entered as the seven seed and battled through to win a play in game.
Day one at Jack Brown featured great baseball and equally special weather. It was 70 and sunny with a slight, slight breeze at first pitch for game one between Century and South. If there was a game that had a chance to get out of hand, I thought this might be the one. Century bringing the biggest baddest starting rotation in the state against Fargo South who had upset their way in looked to be a mismatch. But the Bruins were not intimated. Andy Pugliano got the nod to go up against Dalton Feeney. Pugliano, a junior, threw a complete game three hitter against a potent Patriots roster. Unfortunately for Andy and company, Gatorade POY Dalton Feeney was almost as good for the other guys going the distance and scattering just five hits. Despite the impressive pitching performance, Feeney’s greatest contribution was not on the mound but at the plate. The Senior reached in the 6th and was driven in by Cole Foss for the first and only run of the game. The 1-0 win for the Patriots was an eye opener, and a reminder that every team at the state tournament had to be taken seriously. For Fargo South the loss would be tough to swallow. A base running blunder with men on second and third with just one out took away the lead runner and cut short the best chance of the day for the visitors on the scoreboard.
In game two the Dickinson Midgets exploded for 14 against the Fargo Davies Eagles, cruising to a 14-4 win and moving on to face the Century Patriots in the first semifinal.
West Fargo Sheyenne took on the Williston Coyotes in game three. The Mustangs were the new kids on the block this season, playing their first full year as a varsity team. Despite the lack of existence prior to the season, Sheyenne was not short on veteran leadership. When the two West Fargo schools split many of the seniors ended up sporting the Blue and Orange. WFS turned heads in the EDC tournament entering as the #5 seed and coming out champions. Versus the Coyotes Sheyenne came out like lightning plating three in first. Williston was able to answer back with one but the Mustangs kept rolling in the home half of the second with another three. The second trio of runs spelled the end of the day for Williston’s Tyler Hagen, and the beginning for George Callan. Callan was stellar in relief, allowing just a run and four hits through four and a third. Mike Glanville kept the bats of the Coyotes at bay through five, but Williston found a way to break through in the 6th putting up a three spot of their own to make it a 6-4 game. Tyler Fritz came on in relief of Glanville to get his team out of the inning, and despite struggling with his command, was able to come out and shut things down in the seventh to lock up the first ever Mustang win in the state tournament.
In the day one finale the West Fargo Packers beat Bismarck. The game was a matchup of two teams that had expectations to be one seeds a month ago, but as fate would have it only one could advance.
Day two was supposed to be Friday, but you can’t play baseball in a thunderstorm. Both consolation games were squeezed in but the semi-finals had to be postponed.
Breakfast and baseball was the theme for semi-final one which started at 10:00 A.M. Century and Dickinson faced off in a battle of familiar foes. The two teams split in their four matchups during the regular season and every game had been a pitcher’s duel. On the field before the game you could feel the confidence of the Pats, and how could they not be confident. They had used only one pitcher on day one and still had Alex Horner (single season wins record holder) and Ian McDonald (two no-hitters on the year, including one against Dickinson) with fresh shoulders. You could also sense the respect of the Midgets for their opponent. They were not intimidated, but well aware of the challenge ahead. The game was scoreless through two and a half before Century plated the first run of the game. Looking at the low scoring finals of the regular season games you wondered if that run might be enough for Ian Mcdonald to work with for the W. It wasn’t. The run was the last Century would score and the last positive for them to pull from their last game in the winners bracket. The Midgets jumped on Century for four runs on six hits in the next three frames, helped in large part by SIX ERRORS committed by the team that had won 13 straight heading into the game. While the offense and errors were the focal point of the contest, don’t look past Kendall and Lucas Jones who teamed up to defeat the Patriots for the second time this season. The twin brothers gave up just two hits through seven to send their team to the state title.
With the Dickinson Midgets advancing to compete for their fifth state title, it was only fitting that the Sheyenne Mustangs took down the West Fargo to head to the championship game in their birth year. Final score Sheyenne 10, West Fargo 3.
The West Fargo Packers and Century Patriots fully expected to be playing on the last day of the tournament, but not for third place. Despite the stakes not being what was desired, the two clubs produced a thriller. Each team scored once in the first and West Fargo got two in the third to take a 3-1 lead. The Packer’s Parker Borg was lights out pitching for just the second time this season. He through only one inning in his first appearance and went the distance Saturday. Borg showed no signs of inexperience or struggle through the first four frames, but the fifth and final was a different story. Down 3-1 the Patriots came up and for the first time all tournament looked loose and ready to rumble. You could feel the tides turning as Collin Poolman drove in two with a shot to left-center. Poolman was able to advance to third on a throwing error representing the winning run just 90 feet away. Luke Leingang and Dalton Feeney were intentionally walked to load the bases and setup a force at any bag. With ducks on the pond senior catcher Cole Foss came to the plate. Foss had been great behind the plate all weekend, drove in the winning run in game one and is often overshadowed by the senior pitching staff that deservedly gets a lot of attention. With the game on the line Foss lambasted a ball deep to the track in left center for the win. The outfield was playing in trying to keep everything in front of them, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Final score 4-3 Century.
In the championship game the gritty Dickinson Midgets rolled West Fargo Sheyenne 8-1. It was an incredible weekend for the team that knocked out two #1 seeds and a #2 seed. Senior Mike McChesney had the hit of the game; a two RBI triple that was part of a six run second. Cam Jorda and Lucas Jones teamed up to allow just four hits and a run against Sheyenne, which had scratched across 17 in their first two games of the tournament.
For more in depth analysis of the State A tournament, visit BEKSports.com and take a look At Corey Brooks' commentary.
Congratulations to the Midgets and all the teams that took part this weekend. Everyone involved did a fantastic job putting on an exciting tournament. A special thanks to all the coaches and the Jack Brown Stadium crew for all of their assistance.