For just the second time since 2000, May-Port-CG Legion baseball will be making a trip to the Class B state tournament. A lot of baseball has been played in that time, particularly this year.
The four practice days leading up to the tournament in Oakes have been the longest stretch of practices the team has had all year. The Patriots have played more games than most in Class B this summer.
“There was a stretch where I saw the boys 20 out of 21 days,” May-Port-CG coach Taylor Kunkel said. “These last four days of practice have been huge. We’ve been able to talk about what to expect.”
Expectations for a state tournament may be new for some given the hold Thompson has had on District 6 in recent memory. Although some were on the tournament team from two seasons ago, it is still a new experience for others.
“It's a big tribute to our three seniors. This is a group that has had success as well two years ago, but it’s a tribute to our entire program and we’re obviously doing something right if we can make these big state tournaments like this,” Kunkel said.
From 2000 to 2021, May-Port-CG has been able to build a culture in its program that is now showing the success of hard work. Top players are now boasting some of the more impressive slash lines in Class B.
Jordan Evans -- with his .393 average, .514 on-base and 1.216 OPS -- has hit three home runs this year; four players have racked up more than 30 hits and five players have brought in more than 20 runs.
“Playing that many games I think it gave us more learning opportunities,” Kunkel said. “It gave players more opportunities to have clutch hits, or get a big stop or get a big strikeout. Providing those opportunities helped us a lot in gaining confidence for those different circumstances.”
Regardless of how things shake out for May-Port-CG at the state tournament, Kunkel and his program are excited about the future of Patriot baseball. With the culture set in place, strong spring development and two Legion tournament appearances in three years may push them in the right direction.
Langdon still succeeding without Romfo twins
For Langdon’s Legion team, it did not have the luxury of two of its strongest bats this year. Simon and Grant Romfo were with UND and NDSU, respectively, the majority of the summer prepping for the upcoming football season.
This changed the strategy for Langdon and coach Tanner Groth, but not the results. Instead of relying on the powerful hitters in the Romfo brothers, the team was able to adopt a small ball attitude. Although the team has struggled to produce runs at times, it is still winning games and will be at the Class B tournament once again.
“We’ve always had the capability to play small ball. I honestly say that every season going into the year, but we’ve been lucky enough not to have to. But they all bought into it,” Groth said.
Perhaps thrown into the fire at the start of the year with the departure of Grant and Simon, defensively the team has been able to make up for the loss of two strong gloves as well.
“We were putting guys in new spots where they hadn’t practiced in years but they’ve reacted and adapted well. Everyone is comfortable showing they’re willing to make a play that’s needed to be made,” said Groth.
Picking up where the others left off, Jack Romfo has been one of the more quality batters for Langdon. His 23 hits and 16 RBIs both rank towards the top of the team’s totals. Carter Tetrault and Jackson Delvo have had strong at-bats this summer as well, with on-base percentages over .445 and a combined 23 RBIs.
Langdon will see Garrison in the first round of the Class B tournament at 1 p.m., while May-Port-CG will be taking on Oakes at 7 p.m. in Oakes.