LEGION BASEBALL: Grand Forks Royals score eight in final two innings to top East Grand Forks 12-5
On Thursday, East Grand Forks would have liked a seven-inning affair.
The Royals came from behind in the final two innings — scoring eight runs — to beat East Grand Forks 12-5 at Stauss Park.
“We were good through seven,” East Grand Forks coach Garret Hjelle said.
The Royals trailed 5-4 with two outs in the top of the eighth inning before breaking through.
With two outs, Grand Forks left fielder Jordan Lunski blooped a single to left field to score speedy outfielder Kaden Monette, who was stealing third on the pitch. Monette’s run tied the game at 5-5.
Jayce Turner followed with a run-scoring infield single, which came on a full count, to take the lead. Erik Hanson capped the rally with another run-scoring single and a 7-5 Grand Forks advantage.
“We preach it, and our team has the attitude and the work ethic to come back,” Grand Forks coach Nick Chine said. “They don’t like losing any more than I do.”
Hanson started on the mound for the Royals and was replaced in the seventh by left-hander Brady Regimbal, who picked up the win in relief.
The Royals are 9-1 in North Dakota Class AA, which leads the state standings.
“The key for us is when we swing the bats, we’re difficult to beat,” Chine said. “Our pitching and defense I’ve never questioned. With our ability to run and move guys around, we’re a handful.”
The Royals tacked on five runs in the ninth to pull away. Grand Forks finished with 16 hits.
But East Grand Forks starter Joe Kvidt kept the Royals at bay through seven innings.
“Joe threw a great game,” Hjelle said. “He did a nice job keeping them off balance. We know they’ll score runs. They’re a good hitting team.
“When they string four, five hits together and stuff starts to get contagious and you toss in an error, it makes for a long inning. I was proud of our guys, though, they battled.”
Scott Mortenson led East Grand Forks at the plate, finishing 4-for-5 with a pair of runs.
“(East Grand Forks) is a good team,” Chine said. “They’re going to amass a lot of wins this season. This was a good win for us.”