Wahpeton beats Velva for ND Class 1A state American Legion title
WAHPETON, N.D. – It all came down to two’s for the Wahpeton American Legion baseball team on Sunday at John Randall Field.
Two brothers – Ethan and Seth Meide – came up to the plate with two outs in the fourth inning. Together, the Meide twins produced two, two-run base hits that helped Wahpeton to a 4-2 win over Velva in the North Dakota Class 1A state championship game.
Ethan Meide – the team’s leadoff hitter – stepped into the batter’s box with bases loaded and nearly cleared the bases when he drove a liner down the left-field foul line, but it landed foul. He took a pitch to extend the count to 2-2 and on the next pitch hit a grounder down the third baseline that scored Spencer Edwardson and Brock Lingen.
“We were hitting the ball really well and we just needed to find some holes,” Ethan Meide said. “I thought for sure (the line drive that went foul) was going to be fair when I hit it. It turned out OK though. I changed my approach, but I knew I’d get another pitch to hit if I hung in there.”
The next batter for Wahpeton – Seth Meide – extended the rally with a two-run single that scored Aaron Mennis and his brother.
“I lined out my first two at bats and I asked Ethan where I should hit next time,” Seth Meide said. “He said second base. I said OK and I ended up hitting it over the second baseman’s head. I have been hitting the ball well and hopefully it stays that way.”
Wahpeton advances to a one-game playoff against Class B state champion Carrington set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at John Randall Field. The winner of that game will earn a berth into next week’s Division II Central Plains Regional tournament in Milbank, S.D.
Velva jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as it did the first time it played Wahpeton in the opening round of the tournament. Velva also outhit Wahpeton 7-5.
“Coming up with four runs in that inning was big,” Wahpeton head coach Chris Kappes said. “It all came with two outs. We got a couple big hits and they came from the top of the order. The Meide brothers came through for us.”
Velva got on the board in the first inning when Drew Effertz connected for and RBI single that scored Brad Dean. Solid defense kept Velva in the lead until Wahpeton’s big inning. An additional run was added in the fifth inning, but Velva couldn’t push any more runs across on Wahpeton’s starter Lingen.
“It was one inning,” Velva head coach Brent Engebretson said. “We played well defensively and we out hit them, but it all came down to making one more play to get one more out. That was the big difference in the game.”
Lingen pitched his second complete game of the tournament Sunday and finished with four strikeouts.
“We’ve battled back from being down plenty of times this year,” said Lingen, who earned tournament MVP honors. “I didn’t start the game very well, but once I settled down we got something going later in the game.”
Velva 100 010 0–2 7 0
Wahpeton 000 400 x–4 5 0
Luna and Mack. Lingen and Edwardson. W–Lingen. L–Luna.
Wahpeton: Ethan Meide, Seth Meide, Tyler Gripentrog, Kameron McNary, Brock Lingen (MVP)
Velva: Brad Dean, Eli Luna, Drew Effertz, Isaac Effertz
Beulah: Evan Mellmer
Central Cass: Kyle Cote
Watford City: Andrew Sampsel