DICKINSON, N.D.-Tristen Roehrich was nearly perfect.
The West Fargo Patriots pitcher threw a complete game against Millard West (Neb.), allowing three hits and no runs. The right-hander earned the shutout win as the Patriots topped the Wildcats 2-0 on Thursday, Aug. 9, in American Legion baseball at the Central Plains Regional Tournament at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
"Sometimes you just need one guy to kind of carry you a little bit and that's certainly what he did against a great ball club," said West Fargo head coach Jordan Rheault. "They won the Gopher Classic, one of the biggest tournaments in America. They took second in (the Nebraska) state tournament. Sometimes you have to ask a big-time pitcher to do big things, and he certainly did that for us."
Roehrich faced three more than the minimum in the contest, fanning six. He relinquished two walks, one in the fifth and another in the seventh. However, in the fifth, he followed the walk with back-to-back strikeouts.
"The ump was giving me the outside corner so I was hitting the outside corner and the slider was working today so I used that a lot," Roehrich said. "They hit the ball well. They had a lot of deep fly balls. They hit 'em a little harder, and they're over the fence. My defense played good and finished the game."
Jackson Wright, Tyler Bandiera and Garrett Kennedy posted the only Wildcats hits.
"We were just having so much trouble with his slider," Millard West head coach Steven Frey said. "We didn't have many chances on the bases; we only had three hits. (Roehrich) didn't walk many guys. We just didn't have a lot of chances, and when we had those chances we just didn't get it done. That's the story of the game."
The Patriots, the North Dakota state champs, didn't have too much of an upper hand though with only four hits off the bats of Drake Flesche, Dustin Mertz, Carter Dodd and Alex Urlaub.
Millard West pitcher Peyton Wendell was nearly as effective as his counterpart, allowing two runs on the four hits over seven innings on the bump. The righty walked two and struck out five.
"He threw really well. Really just one mistake the whole game and they scored a run off it," Frey said. "Otherwise he did a good job. He kept them off balance, didn't get behind too many batters. If he did, he came back right away. He was throwing behind a run there the whole game. I was proud of him."
In the second, Flesche led off with a double. After Tanner Zepeda and Mertz were both put out, Dodd and Urlaub had back-to-back singles, with the second scoring Flesche for the first run of the game. Wendell ended the frame by striking out Roehrich.
In the seventh, West Fargo fired again. This time Mertz led off with a double and was pushed to third with a sacrifice bunt from Dodd. A squeeze bunt from Urlaub sealed the deal as Mertz dashed home to score.
"It's just one of those plays we know we have in our back pocket if the pitcher is doing a good job with ground balls. He certainly was with that infield. We knew we had to figure out a different way to manufacture a run. With Alex Urlaub being one of our best, complete offensive players, he did a good job with that."
West Fargo remained undefeated and will play in the only remaining winner's bracket game at 7 p.m. Friday.
WF 010 000 1--2 4 0
MW 000 000 0--0 3 1
Tristen Roehrich and Dustin Mertz. Peyton Wendell and Jackson Meier.