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LEGION BASEBALL: Carrington wins 5-0 over Thompson

LANGDON, N.D. — Logan Clifton had seen enough of Thompson’s hitters to be wary of the team’s offense.

“I knew they had a lot of power,” the Carrington pitcher said. “They’ve been swinging hot bats. I wasn’t expecting to shut them out.”

But Thompson, which totaled 13 runs in the first two rounds of the North Dakota Class B American Legion baseball tournament, was blanked by Clifton on Friday. In a matchup of the final two unbeatens in the tournament, Clifton tossed a four-hitter as Carrington won 5-0.

“I’m really surprised to get a shutout,” said Clifton, who faced one batter to get the win Thursday in a 4-3 victory in eight innings against Enderlin. “It was mostly sticking with the fastball, working it inside and outside and changing speeds. I wanted to keep my pitches low; that creates ground balls.”

Clifton struck out only two, but got 10 ground-ball outs, with Carrington playing an errorless game.

Said Carrington coach Tim Ranum: “Logan wasn’t doing anything special. He threw strikes, got ahead in the count and let his defense work. And we made every play.”

Tough in defeat

Thompson also got a strong pitching performance. Calen Schwabe, a 15-year-old right-hander, struck out 11 and allowed only one run through the first five innings.

Carrington took a 1-0 lead in the third. Easton Paeper started the two-out rally with a triple on a fly ball to deep center field. After Austin Hewitt walked, Brady Smith grounded a run-scoring single into left field.

It stayed 1-0 until the sixth when Carrington added a run, then scored three in the seventh.

“Calen threw well,” Thompson coach Brady Schwab said. “The final score isn’t indicative of how well he kept us in the game. Our defense wasn’t strong behind him.

“(Clifton) wasn’t overpowering. But he threw well. We probably hit the ball hard four times all night.”

Thompson’s best scoring opportunity was in the second inning, when it had runners on first and second but came up short when right fielder Connor Wendel’s diving catch ended the inning.

For Thompson, it was only the second time the team has been held scoreless, and the first since late June.

For Carrington, it was another nail-biter. The team opened state with a 1-0 win against Langdon, then got the 8-inning win against Enderlin in the second round. “It was (a 5-run win), but we didn’t get to enjoy a cushion,” Ranum said. “It was close all the way until the end.”

Thompson plays Langdon in a loser-out game at 2 p.m. today. The winner advances to the championship series.