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LEGION BASEBALL: Nelson County beats Renville County 12-2

LANGDON, N.D. — During the high school season, Matt Miller was a clean-up hitter and an all-region pick for Lakota-Edmore. Now it’s the American Legion season and Miller has no problem with the No. 8 spot in the Nelson County lineup.

“There are so many good hitters when you combine three high school teams on our Legion team,” Miller said. “There are five of us who were all-region picks. For me, it takes the pressure off.”

Miller was part of the lower part of the lineup that came up big Thursday as Nelson County beat Renville County 12-2 in the loser-out round of the North Dakota Class B American Legion baseball tournament.

Bradyn Sand at the No. 7 spot and Miller each drove in three runs. Those two, plus Tyler Gravseth and Ben Halverson, combined for five runs and five of the Owls’ 14 hits.

“We have games where the top of the order is smashing the ball,” Miller said. “There are games where the bottom of the order is hitting. In some games, it all comes together. It was close to that today.”

The Owls got at least one hit and one run from each of the nine spots in the lineup. Hunter Engel and Riley Nelson at the top of the order each had two hits, while Dakota Hoyt batting fourth had three hits. Nelson, Jayden Grover and Gravseth each scored twice.

Nelson County jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, then broke open a 5-1 lead in a three-run third.

“We hit the ball real well in the sectional tournament and, in a lot of the games, it was the bottom of the order that got us going,” Nelson County coach Brent Luehring said.

“In our section, the bottom of our order is as good as anybody’s. A lot of our guys hitting sixth through ninth were at the top of the order on their high school teams.”

Nelson threw the first four innings to pick up the pitching win. He struck out seven while allowing a run and three hits before Jonathan Lund finished.

“Riley’s our No. 1,” Luehring said. “He threw well. We went with him to start because we had to win to stay here. But we pulled him to save him some innings.”