LEGION BASEBALL: 6-5 Thompson victory eliminates Langdon
LANGDON, N.D. — The style was different, but the end result was the same for Tom Nistler.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, Nistler was hit by a pitch Saturday to drive in the game-winning run against Langdon. The 6-5 Thompson victory eliminated Langdon while advancing Thompson into Sunday’s final day in the North Dakota Class B American Legion baseball tournament.
The loser-out win gives Thompson a berth in Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship game against Carrington. Should Carrington, which is unbeaten in the tournament, lose, a second title game would follow.
It was just a week earlier that Nistler delivered a game-winning walk-off base hit against Langdon in the Northeast Section championship game.
“Last time it was a walk-off hit; this time it was a walk-off beaning,” Nistler said. “It would have been better to do it with a hit. I kind of dulled the moment. But we’re just happy with the win.”
Malek Larimer led off the eighth for Thompson by being hit by a pitch. Calen Schwabe, who had singles in his four previous at-bats, walked and Skyler Carlson reached on an error, loading the bases with nobody out.
Nistler was then hit in the leg on a 1-1 pitch by losing pitcher Jon Skjervheim who, ironically, scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 3-2 win Friday against LaMoure.
“This time of the year, any time you get the run in, you take it,” Thompson coach Brady Schwab said. “I’m sure Tom wanted to hit.”
The pitching win went to reliever Ryne Dolleslager, who twice escaped difficult situations in his two innings.
Langdon rallied from a 5-2 deficit with two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth. The Red Sox had the bases loaded on three walks with two out in the seventh, but the threat ended with a ground out. In the eighth, Langdon had a runner on third with one out but couldn’t score.
“Usually, there seems to be some trouble around me when I’m out there,” Dolleslager said. “Langdon’s a good team. I’ve been in those situations before. It’s always nerve-wracking. I do my best to throw strikes and let the defense help.”
Said Schwab: “Ryne hasn’t thrown a lot in relief. He’s a very capable pitcher. He usually has good control. But it’s tough when you come in to pitch after you’ve caught for six innings like he did Sunday. We got out of several jams with our defense.”
Langdon stranded 14 baserunners, including three in both the fifth and seventh innings and two in the sixth. “We just couldn’t capitalize,” Langdon coach Dylan Crockett said. “We got baserunners on. We just couldn’t get them in.”
Langdon went with Kalton Agnes as its starting pitcher — the third time in four days that the left-hander started and threw six innings. He came out when he reached the maximum amount of 12 innings in a three-day span allowed. “He probably could have kept going,” Crockett said.
Carrington 9, Enderlin 0
Marcus Hewitt understates when it comes to Carrington’s pitching.
“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball the last couple of weeks,” Hewitt said. “But, pitching-wise, we haven’t been quite this good.”
Good? Carrington has been more like dominant at state. Carrington earned its berth in the title game by eliminating Enderlin as Hewitt pitched a 6-hit complete game.
Carrington is 4-0 in the tournament. It has shut out three opponents and allowed a total of three runs (two earned) in 29 innings. Opponents have totaled 22 hits.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Hewitt said.
Carrington coach Tim Ranum agrees.
“This is uncharted territory for our pitching,” Ranum said. “It’s been pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise. We don’t have a dominant type of pitcher who gets a lot of strikeouts.”
Carrington gave Hewitt a quick lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Pat Freeman drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the first run, a balk plated the second and Alex Jarrett grounded a single into right field to score the third.
“Marcus threw well,” Ranum said. “We got those three runs right away. That helped. He just concentrated on throwing strikes. He kept them off balance.
“He hasn’t started in a lot of big games. He did a heckuva job.”
Hewitt struck out five. But only once did he allow a runner past second base, that in the sixth inning when Enderlin had runners on second and third with one out, but couldn’t get one home.
“They’re hot, no question,” Enderlin coach Kevin Bratland said. “It’s tough to compete with what they’re doing.
“They throw strikes. We hit the ball. But we couldn’t find holes and they picked up everything. We couldn’t sustain anything.”