LANGDON, N.D.—Langdon-Munich jumped from one win in the 2015 season to a 9-2 record last season, reaching the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A high school football playoffs before being eliminated. Cardinals coach Josh Krivarchka knows where the key to continued improvement is. "Our defense has to get better,'' Krivarchka said.
LARIMORE—The first day of practice brought a pleasant surprise for Larimore High School football coach Kal Triplett. Two players reported who weren't expected to play. Two players doesn't sound like a lot. But it makes an impact for the Polar Bears, who are transitioning this year to 9-man football after playing—and playing well—in the North Dakota Class A 11-man ranks. "We had a couple guys show up who we didn't expect,'' Triplett said. "We'll take them. We expected to have numbers in the high teens. Now we're at 22.''
THOMPSON, N.D.—On Monday, the first day of practice for the 2017 high school football season, there was little talk here about the undefeated Thompson team that won the 2016 9-man state championship. "Coach only talked about it at the beginning (of practice), to remind us that it was a great season,'' senior Cole Sorby said. "But he said it's in the past. We have to move on.''
Three up, three down—that's how Park River started the first two innings Thursday. Having the side retired in order in two straight innings to start a game is a rare occurrence for the American Legion baseball team. "It doesn't usually happen,'' Pirates player Adam Swanson said. "I'm not sure if it's happened before this year. "But we were hitting the ball hard. We felt they'd eventually start falling for us.''
Four times in six innings Thursday, the Grand Forks Blues left the bases loaded. "If you're leaving the bases loaded like that, not getting some of those runners in, that usually means you're not scoring a lot of runs, not getting clutch hits,'' Blues coach Matt Palmiscno said. "But I guess that didn't matter today.''
There wasn't a consensus on whether Paydin Slette played a bigger role with his bat or his pitching arm Wednesday night. In either case, the right-hander was a difference maker as the Bismarck Reps edged the Grand Forks Blues 3-2 in the opening round of the North Dakota Class A American Legion baseball tournament at Kraft Field.
Patience was the key for Jacob Erovick. The right-hander struggled on the mound in the opening inning of the North Dakota Class A American Legion baseball tournament for Park River. But he finished strong as the Pirates downed the Bismarck Capitals 5-2 on Wednesday in the opening round of the tournament at Kraft Field.
Tyler Schmidt saw familiar faces in both dugouts at Kraft Field on Wednesday. Schmidt is the head coach of the Casselton team that beat Beulah 5-1 in the opening round of the North Dakota Class A American Legion baseball tournament. Schmidt is in his first season at Casselton; he'd been head Legion coach at Beulah each of the past two seasons. "I coached all of those (Beulah) kids and their coaches,'' Schmidt said. "It was kind of different coaching against them. I'd love to see them do well, too, so I'd rather not have had to play them in the first round.''
Brock Reller has fond memories of the first time he cleared a fence for a home run. He was 10 years old, playing at Apollo Park. "I still remember it,'' Reller said. "That first one, it's sort of a shock when you do it.'' Home runs have become more commonplace for Reller. And Rakeem Wright—who put a ball over a fence for a home run for the first time as an 11-year-old—has joined Reller as a long-ball threat this summer to give the Grand Forks Royals a potent power combination.
With a region championship on the line, Thompson American Legion baseball coach Brady Schwab turned to four pitchers Saturday, none of whom had pitched as many as 12 innings this season. The result was 8-6 and 7-3 wins against Nelson County as Thompson came out of the loser-out bracket to win the Class B Northeast Region tournament. "The magic potion is changing speeds and throwing strikes,'' Schwab said. "And that's what they did. They didn't do anything fancy, just threw the ball over the plate. They had to pitch out of some jams, and they did.''