Wahpeton tops Carrington for berth at Central Plains tournament
The veteran squad, which won the North Dakota Class 1A state title on Sunday, posted a 10-0 win over Class B champion Carrington in a play-in game Tuesday night at John Randall Field.
Wahpeton, which hosted and won the 2012 Division II Central Plains tournament, advances to the regional set to begin Thursday in Milbank, S.D. Its opening-round opponent will be Milbank at 8 p.m.
“We have a lot of guys on the team this summer that played on the team that won that tournament two years ago,” Wahpeton left fielder Kameron McNary said. “We made it our goal at the beginning of the year that we wanted to make it back. We just didn’t want to win the state championship.”
McNary did his part to help Wahpeton extend its season by going 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles and three RBIs. His first single was part of a six-run second inning in which Wahpeton scored all of its runs with two outs.
Seth Meide walked with the bases loaded, scoring Clay Bassingthwaite for Wahpeton’s first run. Tyler Gripentrog – the team’s No. 3 hitter – kept the rally going with a single, which scored Aaron Mennis.
Gripentrog, McNary and Nate Albrecht each provided base hits with two outs – a trend that carried over from Sunday’s 4-2 win over Velva in the 1A championship game. In that game, Wahpeton scored all of its runs with two outs in the fourth inning.
“With two outs we are still trying to drive the ball,” said Gripentrog, who was 1-for-2 with an RBI. “We are trying to get hits up the middle and just trying to make good contact.”
Wahpeton added three runs in the third inning, two that were scored on wild pitches.
Albrecht tossed a complete game shutout on the mound striking out five batters.
Carrington put two runners on with no outs in two different innings, but neither threat materialized. Three errors in the field also hurt Carrington.
“We made some mistakes,” Carrington head coach Tim Ranum said. “Wahpeton is a great team and you can’t make mistakes against them. They did nice job of capitalizing on our mistakes.”
Carrington’s Easton Paeper and Austin Hewitt led off the game with back-to-back singles, but Albrecht got Brady Smith to pop out and Patrick Freeman to fly out to center field where Gripentrog relayed the throw into Meide, who doubled off Paeper at second base.
“They may have scored a run in the first inning if Brock (Lingen) and I aren’t communicating out there,” Gripentrog said. “I made the catch and Seth made a nice dig at second base to get the double play.”
Wahpeton leadoff hitter Ethan Meide was 2-for-2 with two walks.
After giving up hits to the first two batters he faced, Albrecht only allowed one more hit the rest of the game.
“Our pitching has been great,” McNary said. “Our pitchers have been throwing complete games, and they keep throwing strikes. We have been hitting well, and we need to keep doing that.”
C 000 00 – 0 3 3
W 063 01 –10 10 0
Smith, Freeman (3) and E. Paeper. Albrecht and Edwardson. W–Albrecht. L–Smith.