DICKINSON, N.D.-West Fargo and walk-off wins.
The two seem to go together, as for the second time in three days, the Patriots came from behind to win in the final frame.
Down three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday, West Fargo rallied for a 5-4 victory against Dubuque County (Iowa) during the Central Plains Regional tournament in American Legion baseball at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
With the win, West Fargo is the only undefeated team remaining in the tournament.
"Never gives up, never gives up," Patriots head coach Jordan Rheault said. "That was a great effort all the way around. We stayed calm, we stayed patient. We trusted the process. At some point, we knew we'd put a crooked number on the board and that's what we did."
West Fargo put that number up in its last at-bat. Tristen Roehrich reached on an error and Jake Faircloth singled to start the bottom of the seventh. Andrew Enno blasted a hit into shallow center, scoring Roehrich and bringing the Patriots within two.
With one out and runners on the corners, Drake Flesche stepped up. He smacked a ball deep along the first base line for a double that scored one.
Next, Tanner Zepeda was intentionally walked, setting up the potential for a double play and loaded the bases. After catcher Dustin Mertz walked in a run to tie the game, Adison Krank struck out. Alex Urlaub took to the box with two outs, working the count full. On the 3-2 pitch, the runners took off, but the throw was a ball, forcing the winning run home.
"I got a first-pitch strike I believe, then I was just trusting myself, knowing that I would take the balls and swing at the strikes," Urlaub said. "It got to 3-2 and one more ball and we were done."
Before that inning, Post 137 starting pitcher Connor Crabill was stellar. The right-hander threw six complete innings before being pulled two batters into the seventh. He allowed three runs on eight hits, while striking out three.
"He threw well," Post 137 head coach Rob Hoerner said. "To tell you the truth, he was a little off. He said he was having a hard time finding it a little bit, but he battled. We just felt in the (seventh) inning we had to throw somebody different at them. They battled too and we came up short."
Dubuque County, the Iowa state champ, struck first, scoring four runs over two innings.
Gannon O'Brien led off the top of the second with a single and ran home from first thanks to a line drive to left field from Reid Rausch. After Blake Simon was thrown out by West Fargo first baseman Drake Flesche, Sam Link hit an RBI double to score Rausch.
O'Brien put up his second hit of the day, scoring two runs in the third before the Patriots got on the board.
"Baseball is a funny game," Hoerner said. "You can't just score early and have four zeros after that. That's tough. We played a good team, we're a good team. We had a couple of things happen that seventh inning we didn't want to happen. ... We had it fairly in control, but you never have it in control ... that's baseball."
In the bottom of the third, West Fargo's Brayden Jacobson reached after being hit by the first pitch. He stole second during Enno's at-bat and dashed home on an RBI single off the bat of Zepeda.
Carter Dodd came in to relieve Patriots starting pitcher Brady Beyl in third, inducing immediate outs to end the frame. He threw lights out from there on out, allowing just two hits while striking out one over 3 2/3 innings.
"Coming into the game we knew they'd swing at a high level," Rheault said. "We knew we'd probably have to bear up a few pitchers, but Carter did a lot more than I thought he would to be completely honest. That was absolutely clutch of him."
DC 022 000 0--4 7 2
WF 001 000 4--5 10 1
Connor Crabill (6), Connor McDermott (0.2). Brady Beyl (2.1), Carter Dodd (3.2), Adison Krank (1)and Dustin Mertz. W-Krank. L-McDermott.