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Penney’s two homers power Post 2 to ND Class 2A state legion tournament victory

Fargo Post 2’s Andrew Penney celebrates at home plate after hitting a three-run home run on Thursday. John M. Steiner / Forum News Service

JAMESTOWN, N.D. –Andrew Penney added to his home run total on Thursday night.

The Fargo catcher crushed two long balls, giving starter Jake Salentine all the offense he needed in a 7-0 blanking of second-seeded Grand Forks at Jack Brown Stadium.

The North Dakota Class 2A state Legion tournament victory sets up a repeat showdown between Fargo and Bismarck in the unbeaten game, set for noon Saturday.

“We ended up (pulling) that one out, so I’m sure that will be in the back of their minds,” said Fargo coach Luke Rustad, who coached his team to the state championship last season. “I’m sure they’re happy they’re playing us.”

Penney’s big bat made all the difference, as he belted a three-run homer in the third and added a solo shot in the fifth, giving him five home runs on the summer.

“It’s good to see our bats come alive at the right time,” Penney said. “It’s great getting a shutout and scoring as many runs as we did.”

Salentine was far from perfect, but he battled through nine innings to get the win. He allowed 11 hits, walked two and hit one, striking out eight.

“He made pitch after pitch and his defense picked him up,” Rustad said. “There were times where he could have folded, but he made big pitches when he needed to. That’s what you’d expect out of kid like Jake.”

Grand Forks coach Nick Chine said Salentine and a Penney homer meant the game. The Royals stranded 14 runners and out-hit their opponents 11-10.

“Really, one swing was all they needed, because they threw up a donut,” said Chine, whose team plays at 5 p.m. today against the Minot-Fargo Post 400 winner. “You’ve got to tip your cap to Salentine. Even though we had more hits, he didn’t surrender any runs. That’s the name of the game.”

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Ty Straus, Kaleb Binstock (5) and Brandon Walters. Jake Salentine and Andrew Penney. W–Salentine. L–Straus. HR: F, Penney 2.