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West Fargo rallies for victory against Minot

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – West Fargo coach Bill Ibach has complete trust in the bunting abilities of Marcus Wohl. It served them each well Wednesday.

Wohl put down a two-strike suicide squeeze for the winning run, as West Fargo rallied for a 9-7 win over Minot at Jack Brown Stadium during the first day of the Class 2A American Legion state baseball tournament.

The Patriots (23-16) advance to play Bismarck or Fargo Post 400 at 5 p.m. today.

“It was just a great atmosphere to play in,” Wohl said. “It was a tough game, so it was a lot of fun with these teammates to get a win.”

Wohl, from the No. 9 hole, came to the plate after Ben Bruenjes was hit and moved over on a sacrifice, and Jake Telander walked. The runners moved up to second and third, and Wohl said he knew he would be called on to bunt with the game tied at seven and only one out.

“I came into the at-bat thinking, I’ve got to bring these runners in,” Wohl said. “I kinda screwed up the (first two tries). Luckily, coach had trust in me and I got it done.”

Ibach said it was worth the risk.

“He’s probably one of the three or four guys we would have done it with, with two strikes,” Ibach said. “It’s risky, but you don’t want to leave runs out there, either. We had Noah (Paper) backing him up. So, if was unsuccessful, we still had him up with a guy on third and two outs.”

Minot led until West Fargo’s big three-run eighth inning.

The Vistas got to West Fargo starter Ben Strahm early on, scoring two runs in both the first and second innings. Chase Gooding took over for Strahm in the fifth, picking up the win by allowing just one earned run over the final four innings.

“I wasn’t really worried about Ben – he competes,” Ibach said. “The biggest thing was the number of pitches he threw. ... Chase is a guy that makes guys miss. We’d like to save him, but you can’t do that when you’re down. You’ve got to keep it close.”

Minot reliever Grant Larson took the loss, pitching two-thirds of an inning. The Vistas play Mandan at 2 p.m. in loser-out action.

“I thought we left a lot of runners out there the first four innings,” said Minot coach Todd Larson, whose team stranded 11 on base. “We needed to separate ourselves more. We kind of fell asleep there in the middle innings, offensively.”

Minot 220 012 000–7 6 4

West Fargo 001 300 23x–9 9 3

Jacbo, Larson (8) and Magnuson. Strahm, Gooding (6) and Bruenjes. W–Gooding. L–Larson.

Bismarck 13,

Fargo Post 400 11

A nine-run lead in the second inning put Bismarck on cruise control on Wednesday night.

Fargo Post 400 fought back and eventually cut the lead to two before the top-seeded Governors secured a 13-11 victory the North Daktoa Class 2A Legion state baseball tournament play at Jack Brown Stadium.

“We got up big in the second inning and then we just kinda fell asleep,” said Hunter Walsh, whose team plays West Fargo at 5 p.m. today. “It’s a credit to us that we could wake up, but we can’t keep doing this.”

Walsh finished 4-for-5 with four RBIs. He had an RBI single in the seventh inning and a two-run single in the eighth, with the latter proving to be the game-winning runs.

“I was just seeing the ball well,” Walsh said. “Just letting the ball come to me and guessing right.”

Two early errors led to nine runs in one inning, but a two-run singles from Trent Bohan and Jared Spooner certainly helped.

“They hit the ball really well and came up big in situations when they needed to,” Post 400 coach Matt Peck said.

But Post 400 didn’t stay down, chipping away slowly before a five-run sixth inning put it within striking distance. Austin Engel, who finished 4-for-5, keyed the outburst with a two-RBI triple.

Post 400 (6-24) scored three more in the top of the ninth, as Zander Langevin hit a two-run homer and Dave Mehlhoff scored on an error.

But Bismarck (36-8) went to Dalton Feeney, and he closed out the game for the save. Nate Dinga pitched into the sixth for the win.

“That’s the kind of game I wanna see (us) play,” Peck said. “It was a battle to the end. We didn’t ever get our heads down too far. One inning just got away from us.”

Post 400’s Kaden Steiner suffered the loss, pitching through the second and all the way into the eighth. It plays Friday morning in loser-out action.

Post 400 001 015 103–11 14 2

Bismarck 090 000 130–13 16 3

Kaden Steiner, Conner Ryan (8) and Dave Mehlhoff. Nate Dinga, Trent Bohan (6), Dalton Feeney (9) and Quinn Irey. W–Dinga. L–Steiner. Save–Feeney.

Chris Aarhus is a reporter for the Jamestown (N.D.) Sun