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LEGION BASEBALL: Enderlin beats Nelson County 5-2 in loser-out round

LANGDON, N.D. — Wyatt Aberle snapped his hitting slump in a big way here Friday.

The lead-off hitter’s 3-run home run sparked a late rally as Enderlin beat Nelson County 5-2 in the loser-out round of the North Dakota Class B American Legion baseball tournament.

“It’s about time,” said Aberle, a former Class B state wrestling champion. “I’ve been struggling all tournament. I was getting frustrated with myself.”

With Peter Lindgren on base on a fielder’s choice and Casey Langland on via a walk in the fifth, Aberle lifted a two-out high fly ball over the left-field fence for his second hit of the state tournament and second home run of the season. That erased a 2-0 Nelson County lead.

“I adjusted my stance a little,” Aberle said. “I shortened up my stride. I was looking for contact, just putting it in play. But I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it.”

Daniel Lindgren and Spencer Gillund followed with back-to-back doubles for another run.

The outburst came after Nelson County right-hander Tyler Gravseth had held Enderlin hitless through four innings.

“Tyler threw well,” said Nelson County coach Brent Luehring, who doesn’t have a player in his final season of eligibility on his roster. “They were taking a lot of pitches early. It seemed like they came out more aggressive in the fifth inning. They picked up some momentum.”

Nelson County had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning with a walk, single sacrifice fly and error. The Owls had at least one baserunner in every inning, two of whom were thrown out on stolen-base attempts by catcher Grant Lindemann.

“We couldn’t get the big clutch hit like we did yesterday (a 12-2 win against Renville County) and in the section tournament,” Luehring said.

Aberle went the distance for his fifth win in six decisions. His pitch count was well above 100.

“I generally don’t do that with a pitcher,” Enderlin coach Kevin Bratland said. “But I asked him how he felt and he wanted to finish it out. And he seemed to pick up a little gas after the fifth inning.

“He’s a competitor.”