Ust’s fielding gems lift MPCG to win
By Scooter Pursley Special to The Forum MANDAN, N.D.
By Scooter Pursley
Special to The Forum
MANDAN, N.D. – Third baseman Aaron Ust made two great stops in the seventh inning to help May-Port-CG to a 10-7 win over Harvey-Wells County on Thursday at the North Dakota Class B state baseball tournament.
In a game that included eight errors, a bundle of walks and few great plays, Ust picked the right time to stand out.
With the Patriots leading by three and runners on first and second with no outs, Ust dived to his left to top a liner from Trevor Schimke and had the presence of mind to pick up the ball and step on the base for a force out.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Shawn Kourajian lined a shot down the line that Ust dived to his right to backhand and end the game.
“That was a senior stepping up and fielding his position,” coach Eric Nygaard said. “Those were hard-hit balls.”
Few plays were made in the first three innings, which ended with the teams tied 7-7. May-Port-CG scored five times in the top of the first. All five runs were unearned. Harvey-Wells County helped with four walks and two errors.
But the Hornets responded in the bottom of the inning with four runs off soft-throwing Zach Arnegard, who was on the mound after MPCG coach Eric Nygaard chose to start a lineup of all seniors.
Arnegard lasted five batters and was replaced by Jacob Klath, who pitched into the seventh to get the win.
Kourajian took the loss for the Hornets, giving up single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings after HWC had tied it 7-7 in the third.
Ust preserved that lead after Ian Chandler came on to replace Klath in the seventh. Ust said he was hoping to get a chance to make plays.
“I mainly focus on the batter and tune everything else out,” Ust said. “Just wait for the pitch, wait for the hit and watch the ball. We all want to make the play.”
M-P-CG 520 011 1 – 10 6 4
H-WC 403 000 0 – 7 7 4
Zach Arnegard, Jacob Klath (1), Ian Chandler (9) and Brady Nygaard. Parker Bachmeier, Shawn Kourajian (1) and Brady Bachmeier. W-Klath. L-Kourajian. HR: None.
Velva-Drake pitcher Brady Engebretson cut his warmup short Thursday before his start against Kindred-Richland in the opener of the North Dakota Class B state baseball tournament at Memorial Ballpark.
Engebretson went the distance, giving up one single and striking out 12 in the Aggies’ 2-0 win.
“It wasn’t my best. My arm hurt. I threw maybe 20 pitches in the bullpen and went into the dugout to get some shade. That calmed me down,” said the left-handed Engebretson said. “I thought I was going to go five innings max.”
Engebretson outdueled Vikings pitcher Fletcher Andel, who gave up two hits and two unearned runs – both in the first inning – and struck out 15.
“I didn’t come out the way I normally do and we didn’t swing the bats well enough to win that game,” Andel said.
The first inning was the difference, namely the first four batters that Andel faced. Velva-Drake took a 2-0 lead in without the benefit of a hit.
Effertz led off with a walk and was bunted to second base. He scored on a throwing error by Andel on a dribbler up the first-base line. Andel fielded the ball cleanly but threw wide of the base.
Shad Vedaa reached on the error. He went to third on a wild pitch after catcher Tyson Tallakson took his time getting to the ball, thinking it was a foul. While Tallakson pleaded his case, Vedaa scampered to third, then scored on another wild pitch. Neither run was earned.
Andel settled down and gave up just two singles the rest of the way. Kobe Bright singled to center in the second and Engebretson singled to center in the third. Neither advanced past second base. He had 12 straight outs by strikeout between the third and seventh innings.
Andel said playing from behind was a strange position to be in.
“We usually don’t put ourselves in that hole. It was a tough way to start a game,” Andel said. “The way we came into the tournament hitting the ball, I wasn’t worried at the beginning. We just never got a rally.”
VD 200 000 0–2 2 0
KR 000 000 0–0 1 1
Engebretson and Mack. Andel and Tallakson. W-Engebretson. L-Andel.
Lewis & Clark-Parshall 0
Lewis and Clark-Parshall pitcher Austin Lee was good, but Carrington’s Braxton Hewitt was better Thursday in a first-round game.
Hewitt won a pitcher’s duel as the Cardinals beat the Wildcats 2-0 to advance to tonight’s semifinals where they will play top-seeded Grafton.
Hewitt went the distance, striking out six and giving up just four singles. He also drove in his team’s only runs with a bad-hop single in the third inning.
“I saw the ball had a lot of spin on it and I was hoping it would do that,” Hewitt said. “I guess we just got really lucky on that one.”
Hewitt, Easton Paeper and Brady Bickett had Carrington’s three hits of tough-luck loser Austin Lee.
Lee struck out two and fielded his position flawlessly for the Wildcats. He did not walk a batter.
It was scoreless and no one had threatened heading into the third inning. Carrington scored the only runs it needed on a fluke ground ball to second.
Lewis and Clark second baseman Ryan Schweitzer moved to his left to pick up the bouncer from Hewitt. But the ball hit the edge of the grass and took a left turn. Schweitzer tried to bare-hand it, but it went into the outfield and Brady Bickett and Connor Wendel scored.
“Fortunately for us it bounced away from the guy. I don’t know how,” Carrington coach Wayne Shipman said. “We finally got some good luck.”
Bickett had singled and Wendel reached on an error that should have ended the inning.
“It was just who gets the first runs in this one,” Hewitt said. “Their pitcher threw well and only gave us three hits.”
LCP 000 000 0–0 4 2
C 002 000 x–2 3 2
Lee and Nelson. Hewitt and Paeper. W–Hewitt. L–Lee.
Grafton 5, Beulah 1
Grafton scored four runs in the sixth inning on the way to defeating Beulah 5-1 on Thursday.
Jaron Lunday went 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs for Grafton.
Devin Sardelli drove in Michael Morris in the third inning to produce the only run for Beulah.
B 001 000 0–1 4 2
G 010 004 x–5 5 2
Battest. Morris (6) and Norton. Hernandez, Baldwin (6) and Thompson. W–Baldwin L–Battest.