PARK RIVER, N.D. -- The affiliations aren’t the same. The rosters and lineups are different.
Still, revenge was sweet for Simon Romfo and his Langdon baseball teammates here Saturday.
Langdon beat Park River 14-4 in the championship game of the Class B District 5 independent baseball tournament. Langdon, which went undefeated in the double-elimination tournament, advances to the state independent tournament in Minot.
Langdon and Park River aren’t baseball strangers. In each of three straight seasons (2017-19), Park River/Fordville-Lankin came through the loser-out bracket to beat Langdon-Edmore-Munich twice on the final day for the title in the Region 4 high school baseball tournament. There was no high school season this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was definitely in the back of our minds,’’ said Simon Romfo, who got the complete-game pitching win for Langdon. “We owed them one -- no, three -- in this game. We wanted some payback after they sent us home the last couple of years.
“We’re not the same teams. But we definitely wanted this one.’’
Langdon coach Tanner Groth said he never heard his team talk about the high school tournament losses. “But it was frustrating for them,’’ Groth sad. “In the back of their minds, I’m sure it rubbed them the wrong way.’’
Simon gave up only four hits and two earned runs in the final, which was called after six innings due to the 10-run rule.
“Other than hitting a few batters and walking a few more than he usually does, Simon was as effective as he can be,’’ Groth said.
Langdon got an early cushion with a seven-run second inning. Brenan Kitchin had two hits and Carter Tetrault drilled a two-run double to left to highlight the outburst.
Nate Zavalney slowed Langdon’s bats down when he came on in relief in the second. The right-hander allowed only two runs over 3.1 innings before Langdon got him for six runs, all unearned, in the sixth. Zavalney struck out 10 before reaching his maximum pitch count.
“That (second inning) was huge,’’ Park River coach Will Magnusson said. “That gave (Langdon) momentum for the rest of the game. Nate came in and gave us a chance to win. Our defense (six errors) didn’t help us.’’
Park River rallied to within 8-4 with two runs in the top of the sixth. The rally was cut short by the defensive play of the game.
With the bases loaded, Langdon’s Jackson Delvo made a reaching, one-handed catch on a drive to deep center field. Delvo made a quick relay throw to shortstop Grant Romfo, who caught a Park River runner off first base for an inning-ending double play.
“That was a huge play, a game changer,’’ Simon Romfo said.
And Langdon was able to change its frustrating results against Park River with a baseball title on the line.