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GF's Moe bounces back from injury

Gabe Dahl calls it one of the worst collisions he's seen in baseball. But it hasn't kept Alex Moe off the baseball diamond. After missing about five weeks due to head injuries, Moe returned to the lineup of the Grand Forks Royals American Legion ...

Gabe Dahl calls it one of the worst collisions he's seen in baseball. But it hasn't kept Alex Moe off the baseball diamond.

After missing about five weeks due to head injuries, Moe returned to the lineup of the Grand Forks Royals American Legion baseball team Monday, getting two hits in a win against Devils Lake.

"I didn't think we'd have him back for the rest of the year," said Dahl, the Royals coach.

Moe opened the season with five hits in his first seven at-bats. But that fast start was derailed June 8. Moe was playing center field in the annual East-West all-star game when he collided with the left fielder going after a fly ball. The injuries the 18-year-old sustained included a fractured skull, a crushed forehead and a broken nose.

"I was there when it happened," Dahl said. "It was bad, one of the worst (collisions) I've seen. At first, I didn't know what to expect his recovery time would be.

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"But he had surgery and, a week after that, he was back with us at every game and every practice even though he couldn't play. That tells you what kind of kid he is. He loves the game."

Moe's surgery was five days after the all-star game. He had four metal plates put in his forehead. He had 31 staples, from ear to ear, inserted across the top of his head. He had splints inserted in both nostrils.

And he was thinking baseball.

"I asked the doctors (after surgery) how soon I could come back and play," Moe said. "I was told it would be about four weeks, depending on how I felt. I wanted to play again; I figured if I did get hurt again, it couldn't get any worse than that."

Moe, a North Dakota Class A high school all-state selection this spring who has signed to play baseball at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls, said he felt no rust when he returned to the lineup.

"I couldn't wait to get back," he said. "And it was weird -- when I got out there, I didn't feel like I'd missed five weeks of baseball. It was like just another day of baseball. It was a lot of fun."

Dahl said he won't play Moe at catcher and is unsure of his status as a pitcher. But Moe also is a quality outfielder and hitter.

"Alex helps us out a lot," Dahl said. "He's a consistent hitter. He hits the ball in gaps, he can bunt for hits and steal bases. And defensively, he really helps us out in the outfield. He just brings a lot to the table.

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"It's a very pleasant surprise, having him back."

Heaters take top

seed into playoffs

The East Grand Forks Heaters amateur baseball team has repeated as regular-season champion in the Norman-Polk League.

The Heaters went 12-4 in league play and are 16-4 overall. East Grand Forks hosts the winner of the Warroad-Crookston play-in game in a best-of-three league semifinal playoff series, which is tentatively set to open Saturday in East Grand Forks.

"It's kind of nice to win the league, especially to do it two years in a row," Heaters manager Kyle Gast said. "We play pretty consistent baseball all year to earn that."

The Heaters have some familiar names in their lineup. Most of the 17 players who consistently play are products of the East Grand Forks American Legion baseball program. Approximately half of those, Gast said, went on to play college baseball.

"Most of us played within three or four years of each other in Legion ball," Gast said. "Most of our guys have been to state Legion tournaments with the East Grand Forks Legion. A lot of what we do is a carry-over from what we did in Legion ball."

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The connection is also there in that former longtime EGF Legion coach Steve Gust is on the team roster. He has pitched a few games for the team this season.

Sipe all-star

game Sunday

At least four college-bound players have committed to play in the annual Tony Sipe American Legion all-star game, which will be held Sunday in Argyle.

Approximately 30 players are expected to participate in the event, which begins at 1:30 p.m. with a home-run hitting contest, with the game scheduled to begin at 3. The homer contest will be with metal bats, while players will use wood bats during the game.

Among players expected to play are Spencer Johnson of Thief River Falls, who has signed to play at North Dakota State University, and Red Lake Falls' Casey Cardinal, Nolan Knott and Jeff Weiss, all of whom have signed to play at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls.

"We usually get around four or five players who are planning to play somewhere in college," Stephen-Argyle coach Chris Mills said.

"I think Warroad and Red Lake Falls are a step above the other teams in our conference. But it's been more balanced than in most years. It seems like everybody has been pretty competitive. There are a lot of good players."

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