Thompson tops LaMoure-LM for Class B state baseball championship
The Tommies rode a surging offense that averaged 10.1 runs per game in the regular season
FARGO — The Thompson Tommies are hailed the champions of North Dakota Class B baseball.
Thompson defeated LaMoure-Litchville-Marion 11-7 in the title game Saturday at Newman Outdoor Field.
Tommies head coach Nate Soulis said his team’s offensive performance contributed immensely to their tournament success.
“That was the best we’ve swung it on three consecutive days,” Soulis said. “You can’t ask for much more and they brought it the last few days.”
The Tommies dominated in their state tournament appearances. They won each of their first two games by the 10-run mercy rule, defeating North Star 13-3 and Des Lacs-Burlington 25-3.
Thompson was 17-1 in the regular season, their only loss came against Hillsboro-Central Valley. The Tommies rode a surging offense that averaged 10.1 runs per game.
The Loboes came ready to play, but their luck ran short. This was the second time in a row that L-L-M was defeated in the championship game of the state tournament.
Derold Haugen, the Loboes’ head coach, received the Class B Coach of Year award. He said that one of the keys to the Tommies’ success was the performance on the mound.
“The pitcher played outstanding,” Haugen said. “He knew we weren’t gonna hit the curve and he kept coming with the curve, and we just kind of froze.”
The Tommies got a trio of runners across the plate in the first inning, taking the lead to 3-0, when Ryan Strande hit a bases-loaded double to clear all the runners on the base paths.
Strande finished 2 of 3 with four RBIs and two walks. He said that his team “has been waiting for this moment” all season.
“Even though we gave up seven runs,” said Strande. “It really doesn’t feel that way, because our offense picked (the pitchers) up. They really did pitch well at the end.”
Landon Piehl responded for L-L-M in the bottom half of the inning, hitting a triple to score Tate Mart and Connor Johnson. Both runners reached base off a walk. Garrett Hebl hit a single up the middle that scored another two runners to put the Loboes ahead 4-3.
Thompson got another run across the plate in the second inning. The Tommies loaded the bases after back to back singles and a hit-by-pitch. Strande hit into a double-play, but got the run in, tying the game up at 4-4.
Thompson broke it open in the fourth inning. Kyle Odenbach started the surge with a two-run single up the gap. After tacking on two more in the fourth, the Tommies plated three runs in the top of the fifth to build an 11-4 advantage.
L-L-M showed some fight in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs. Dalton Madcke scored two runners after doubling down the right field line. A pair of walks put runners on base and Mart singled for his second hit of the game, cutting it to 11-7.
The Tommies would shut out the Loboes in the seventh inning.
Odenbach finished the game 2 for 3 with four RBIs and was the winning pitcher. The championship was the goal from the get-go.
“This was our goal coming into it. We knew we could win it, as soon as we got into the state tournament,” said Odenbach. “And we got three good games.”