SHELBY, N.C. — Fargo Post 2 had a strong start to a game that was put on hold Sunday, Aug. 18, at the American Legion World Series.
Post 2 erupted for five runs in the second inning to build a 5-1 lead against Shrewsbury (Mass.) Post 397 before the game was halted in the bottom of the third inning due to lightning. That was followed by a heavy rainfall, which caused the final game of pool play for both teams to be suspended.
"Any time you can get a big inning, it's extremely critical," Post 2 head coach Luke Rustad said.
The game will continue at 10 a.m. (CST) Monday, Aug. 19, at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium. Post 2 is 1-1 in pool play and could potentially earn a spot in the World Series semifinals with a victory against Shrewsbury.
Post 2 shortstop Zach Kluvers capped the second-inning rally with a two-out, two-run double that gave his team a 5-0 lead. Drew Sandy and Zach Sandy added RBI singles earlier in the second.
Shrewsbury scored its run in the bottom of the third inning after a Post 2 throwing error. Shrewsbury center fielder TJ Morgera stole third base and then advanced home after an errant throw to third base, cutting the Fargo lead to 5-1.
Shrewsbury was batting in the bottom of the third with a man on second base and first baseman Matt Livingston at the plate with one out when the game was halted due to lightning. The game will pick up from that point Monday morning.
"Before the rain came, we gave them back a run," Rustad said.
Post 2 starter Colton Frey hadn't allowed a hit through 2 1/3 innings, allowing an unearned run. Frey walked two and struck out two.
"He really commanded his fastball well and he was pitching inside well," Rustad said of the right-hander.
Rustad said he hasn't decided if Frey will be back on the mound when the game resumes.
"Typically you don't want to send a kid back out there," Rustad said. "We are going to have to see how we manage this thing. We want to see how he feels. I don't want to put him out there if he is not feeling good."
Blake Anderson and Brandt Kolpack were both 2-for-2 at the plate for Post 2 before the game was stopped. Post 2 had eight hits through its first three at-bats. Six different Fargo players had at least one hit.
"I like the fact that when we got runners on, people came up with hits," Rustad said. "We kept the pressure on them."
Idaho Falls and Randolph County (N.C.) are scheduled to play at noon (CST) Monday to finish out pool play. If Post 2 holds on to win against Shrewsbury, an Idaho Falls win would clinch Fargo a spot in the semifinals. The top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals.
Destrahan (La.) and Danville (Ill.) have already earned a spot in Monday's semifinals from the other pool.
If Fargo wins and Randolph County wins, Post 2, Idaho Falls and Randolph County would all be tied at 2-1 in their pool. Runs allowed would likely be part of the tiebreaker that determines which two teams advance to the semifinals. Rustad said every run allowed matters if there is a three-team tie.
"I think it's really critical," Rustad said. "That is why I'm disappointed with how we gave up the run."
Rustad said Post 2 needs to come out focused when the game resumes Monday morning.
"On offense, we are going to have to try to extend our lead," Rustad said. "I like where we're at. When you can get ahead of people in postseason baseball, that's always huge."
The semifinals remain scheduled for 3 p.m. (CST) and 6 p.m. (CST) Monday. So if Fargo makes it out of pool play, they would have to play another game Monday.