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LaMoure's American Legion baseball team is back at the state tournament

LAMOURE, N.D. – With all the changes to Legion baseball this summer, one thing remained the same in the end – LaMoure Post 19 is back in the state tournament.

In the new setup, Class B switched to a four region format, meaning the top two teams in each region advanced to state.

It hardly matters it seems for LaMoure, which won the Southeast Region tournament title in Oakes over the weekend, clinching its 10th trip to state in the last 12 years.

The entire run has been under coach J.R. Thielges, who doesn’t want any credit.

“We’ve had a lot of really good kids come through here,” he said. “You can’t do much if you don’t have players, and we’ve had a lot of good players.”

Post 19 has put together a sparking 28-6 record heading into Wednesday’s tournament opener against Renville County. The tournament will be played in Langdon with the winner advancing to the Central Plains Regional. LaMoure plays the opening game of the tournament at 10 a.m.

This year’s version of the Post 19 is young, but also has a core of very productive and experienced players.

Jared Meiklejohn, Brady Thielges and Anthony Olson have been the core of LaMoure’s successful run in baseball, basketball and football in recent years and this summer’s Legion team is no different.

“Jared and Brady are two big leaders, not just in how they play, but how they go about things,” J.R. Thielges said. “They do things the right way. Then Anthony is just a great athlete and he’s a good baseball player on top of it.”

Meiklejohn’s been one of the best players in the state. He won the starting shortstop at Valley City State in the spring and has been sizzling all summer with a .465 batting average, four home runs and a whopping 52 RBI in just 112 at bats. He’s also 4-1 on the mound with a 1.12 earned run average and two saves.

“He’s played at a really high level. Coming from college you hope he kind of carries that over with us, but he’s probably even exceeded expectations,” J.R. Thielges said.

Brady Thielges, headed to Northern State to play football in the fall, has been limited to 55 at bats mainly due to playing in the Badlands Bowl all-star football game and the Lions all-star basketball games. But Brady can run, throw and hit with the best of them.

Olson, meanwhile, is hitting at a .412 clip with four homers, four triples, 10 doubles, 32 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

Roddy Gentzkow, the other veteran on the roster, also has had a big summer. Offensively, he’s hitting .322 with 30 RBI. On the mound, he’s unbeaten at 6-0 with a 2.84 ERA in 32 innings.

The young crew is good too, with 16-year-olds Parker Stemen (.327 avg., 25 RBI, 5-1, 3.48 ERA, 43 IP), Quinn Alo (5 HR, 24 RBI), Drew Thielges (.304 avg.), Ben Kietzman (.257 avg.), Marcus Good (.256 avg.) and Brady Warcken (.357 avg., 4-1, 2.72 ERA, 36 IP) all making key contributions now and certainly will serve as a formidable force in the future.

“They’ve had a lot of success in different sports, but whatever season it is, they’re pretty good about focusing in on what they need to do,” J.R. Thielges said. “It’s a fun group to be around. It’s a pretty dang good bunch of kids.”