LEGION BASEBALL: Royals win 18-10 over Minot at Class AA state tournament
Kaden Monette wasn’t concerned about Minot rallying on Friday night.
The Grand Forks hitter, from the ninth spot in the order, finished 3-for-4 in helping the Royals to a marathon 18-10 win over Minot at the Class AA American Legion state tournament at Jack Brown Stadium.
“I was seeing the ball really well and putting it in play,” Monette said. “I had good swings. ... There wasn’t a lot of pressure. We knew we could handle them.”
Second-seeded Grand Forks Royals kept their season alive and meet Jamestown or West Fargo at 3 p.m. today (Jamestown and West Fargo were playing late Friday).
“Pitching depth is one of our strengths, so I’m not too concerned about that,” Grand Forks coach Nick Chine said. “For us, it’s always about offense.”
Offense wasn’t an issue against Minot, pounding out 18 hits and forcing Minot to go deep into its well. The Vistas used six pitchers.
“I don’t know if we so much figured out their pitching as much as they were thin on pitching,” Chine said. “That certainly helped us.”
In the fourth inning, Kaleb Binstock had an RBI single to tie the game 2-2. Monette’s ensuing two-run single gave Grand Forks the lead for good, which didn’t surprise Chine.
“He’s in the nine-hole for a reason,” Chine said. “He turns the lineup over for us. If he reaches, he’s a threat to steal every bag.”
Grand Forks dumped 10 runs on Minot in the fifth inning, sending 15 batters to the plate. However, Minot rallied for six runs in the bottom half to get within five at 14-9.
The inning conjured up bad memories for Chine, whose team gave up an eight-run lead to Minot at the state tournament a few years ago.
“They’ve proven that they are resilient,” Chine said of the Vistas. “There wasn’t any quit in them.”
Chaise Anderson and Jace Braathen also had big days with four RBIs each for the Royals, who went to Brandon Walters in relief of starter Colin Hennessy in the fourth. Walters went the rest of the way for the win.
Minot (27-23) was paced by the four-hit efforts of Grant Larson and Austin Eggl.