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LEGION BASEBALL: Thompson Legion baseball to play Thompson amateur team

Thompson will honor its baseball past Saturday. Its baseball present is going strong.

The Thompson American Legion baseball team will play the Thompson amateur team at 2 p.m. During the game, the Thompson baseball program will retire the No. 7 that longtime coach Ryam Brantl wore. He’ll be presented with his old jersey.

Brantl retired from his Thompson High School baseball coaching position a year ago. He held the position for 37 years, taking the Tommies to North Dakota Class B state baseball tournaments in 15 of his final 30 seasons. Brantl’s Thompson teams won four Class B state high school baseball titles.

“It won’t be a big ceremony,” Thompson Legion coach Brady Schwab said. “But we’re going to retire the number and put the No. 7 on a pennant with Ryam’s name on it on the outfield fence.

“We’re doing it for all the years of service Ryam put in. The level our baseball program is at largely is because of the coaching and the time Ryam put into it.”

The current Thompson Legion team has won 14 of its first 17 games. Thompson was a Class B state high school tournament qualifier this spring and its roster has been fortified by two players who were college freshmen last school year, Andrew Klegstad and Skylar Carlson.

“I don’t think (the success) is a surprise,” Schwab said. “We have a pretty veteran, quality team. The two big concerns we had coming into the year were what would our numbers be and how would we do in the new region setup.

“We have some teams in our region we weren’t familiar with. But I like getting a chance to play different teams.”

Thompson’s strength has been its pitching. Carlson, Ryne Dolleslager and Brandon Walsh have thrown the majority of the innings.

“We’re pitching really well,” Schwab said. “Our pitchers don’t throw it by hitters. They throw strikes and we’ve defended well behind them.”

Like father, like son?

Garret Hjelle has heard lots of questions from son Reed about what kind of baseball player he was. Now the answers are coming back to haunt Garret Hjelle, the East Grand Forks Legion baseball coach.

“Reed gives me a hard time about how the only two home runs I hit in Legion ball were in my last two games,” said Hjelle, who played three seasons of Legion ball for East Grand Forks in the mid-1980s. “So he thinks he’s way ahead of me.”

Reed Hjelle has put up big numbers in his first season of Legion baseball, including three home runs in the first 20 games.

The senior-to-be at East Grand Forks Senior High leads the 13-6-1 Legion team in most offensive categories, including home runs, average (.514), slugging percentage (.722), hits (37), RBI (26) and runs (21).

“For the most part, I think we’re pretty similar players,” Garret Hjelle said. “As far as making contact and hitting consistently, I think I was one of the better hitters for average on my teams. Reed’s the same way. But he has more pop; when he gets the barrel of the bat on the ball, it tends to go pretty far.”

Brevik named all-state

Lars Brevik of Red Lake County has been named to the Minnesota Class A all-state baseball team, as selected by the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association.

Brevik was 7-2 on the mound for the 19-7 Rebels team that won the Section 8A championship, with a sub-1.50 earned run average. He also was a .350 hitter with two home runs and a team-leading 22 RBI.

Ada-Borup senior Blake Fetting also was named to the all-state team.