LEGION BASEBALL: Grand Forks overcomes 6-1 deficit in first game to beat Wahpeton
The Grand Forks Royals American Legion baseball team returned Saturday from the program’s typical trip to Omaha.
Head coach Nick Chine liked his team’s resolve against the tough competition.
“We always showed life and didn’t roll over,” Chine said. “That’s all I can ever ask for as a coach: To finish and battle to the final out.”
That trend continued Monday in a non-conference doubleheader against Wahpeton at Kraft Field.
The Royals erased a five-run deficit in the first game and cruised in the nightcap to sweep Wahpeton 7-6 (eight innings) and 6-1.
Grand Forks returns to conference play today with a doubleheader against Mandan at Kraft Field.
Against Wahpeton, which now competes at the Class B level, the Royals needed to overcome a three-run first inning by Wahpeton, which led 6-1 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Royals chipped away, though. First, scoring two in the sixth on a Chaise Anderson two-run single and then adding three more in the seventh thanks to a trio of Wahpeton errors.
Grand Forks picked up the victory in the eighth inning when Kaden Monette and Cole Kirchoffner singled to spark the rally. The Royals later picked up the game-winning run on a bases loaded walk to Brady Regimbal.
“That has been our M.O. from the start of the season,” Chine said. “We haven’t rolled over for anyone. That’ll pay dividends at the end of the year. These guys have competed to the final out like that for 19 games now.”
In Game 2, the Royals returned the favor with a three-run first inning of their own. Wahpeton aided the outburst by allowing five walks in the frame.
Unlike Wahpeton’s early lead in Game 1, the Royals had no trouble hanging on to a lead in Game 2.
Grand Forks pitcher Ryan Richardson went the distance, despite taking two line drives off his body — one off his stomach and the other off his knee. On both plays, Richardson shook off the pain and threw out the runner at first base.
“He’s a real competitor,” Chine said. “He always has been. He’s done a real nice job for us the last two seasons. He’s pretty tough to hit, but they put some good swings on the ball. But we made some nice plays defensively.”
GF Royals 7-6,
Wahpeton 300 021 00 — 6 13 5
Grand Forks 100 002 31 — 7 6 1
WP — Kaleb Binstock; LP — Nate Albrecht
Highlights — W: Tyler Gripentrog 2x4, Kameron McNary 2x4, 2B, 3B, Albrecht 3x4, Spencer Edwardson 2x4; GF: Cole Kirchoffner 2x5
Wahpeton 000 000 1 — 1 10 0
Grand Forks 302 100 x — 6 5 1
WP — Ryan Richardson; LP — Tyler Gripentrog
Highlights — W: Seth Meide 2x3, McNary 2x3, 17 2x3; GF: Jace Braathen 1x2, 2B, Chaise Anderson 1x2, run, RBI