West Fargo Patriots sweep Fargo Post 400 Stars in doubleheader
Konner Entz blasted a home run for the Patriots in Game 1
FARGO — A strong outing on the mound from Caleb Duerr and a big home run from Konner Entz paved the way for the West Fargo Patriots to defeat the Post 400 Stars 5-2 Tuesday in American Legion baseball at Starion Bank Field.
In Game 2, the Patriots opened a four-run lead early and held on to complete the sweep with a 5-3 win.
In Game 1, Duerr pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts and four walks. Entz went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a three-run home run.
Patriots head coach Jordan Rheault said his team got the job done despite some adversity.
“Big swing by Entz, (we) played really good defense as well, Duerr came out lights out,” Rheault said. “He got into a little bit of trouble in the sixth and battled through it. That’s what we're asking from him and the team, so that’s important.”
Duerr’s confidence helped pave the way to his solid game.
“I felt good with every pitch, just getting good movement, and finding spots,” Duerr said.
Duerr relied on a fastball, but also found success with some offspeed pitches.
“My fastball was working really well for me today,” he said. “And kind of got them on the curveball when they were expecting that (fastball) for a lot of swings and misses.”
The win was a good rebound for the Patriots after going winless at the CWS Jr. Jay Classic last weekend in Omaha, Neb.
“It felt good coming back after Omaha going 0-5,” Duerr said. “But we found a way to get some hits together. Konner hit a home run, which is big to get some runs and just support me on the mound.”
The Patriots took hold of the lead in the fourth and ran with it.
Brennan Haman and Trey Stocker got back-to-back base hits to put West Fargo in business. Haman scored on a Cooper Borchardt sacrifice fly. Evan Berg hit an RBI double in the fifth to put the Patriots up 2-0.
Rheault said his team’s recent lack of offensive success made them more aggressive. The Patriots finished with eight hits.
“We’ve been down a little offensively, so I think they were getting a little antsy,” Rheault said. “The first couple innings they lined and then finally the barrels found some green space out there.”
Haman doubled to left-center and Peyton Jantzi reached via a walk in the sixth before Entz belted the three-run homer.
The Stars tried to claw back late, scoring two runs in the last half-inning of the game, but it wouldn’t be enough.
Jaxon Beiswinger doubled in the inning, scoring Eli Mach. Oliver Lucht also scored on a missed play by the Patriots defense.
Post 400 head coach Ben Bryant said the Stars' offense couldn’t get it going.
“We didn’t get hits when we needed hits and we couldn’t string anything together really,” Bryant said. “Our pitcher gave us a chance to win the game, and we couldn’t come up with some hits to back him up.”
In the nightcap game, Matt Heupel was on the mound for West Fargo and was lights out through several innings.
Heupel maintained a no-hitter through five innings, until Lucht finally got to him with a base hit into center field to break it up.
West Fargo jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second game. Seth Wiggestrand and Mason Stoelting singled and Borchardt then doubled, scoring two. West Fargo also added another pair in the third after a couple base knocks from Haman and Stocker.
Easton Rerick launched a two-run double into right center, opening up the inning for Post 400. The Stars had one more runner cross the plate in the inning to cut the margin to 4-3.
But in the top of the seventh, the Patriots' Stock singled and scored an insurance run on Konnor Entz' pinch-hit double to make it 5-3. In the home half, West Fargo's Nolan Dodds relieved Heupel. He gave up a one-out walk and an Oliver Lucht line-drive single to right before getting a strikeout and a line out to short to end the game.
Both teams will be participating in the Jim Pettersen Invitational tournament, nicknamed “The Pete,” starting on Thursday, June 30. The tournament will host 12 teams from around the region and be played at four different fields across the Fargo-Moorhead area.
They both begin at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The Patriots will play at Young Field and the Stars at Starion Bank Field.