Class B state baseball: Hatton-Northwood wins, Grafton, M-S-NS, Dakota Prairie drop openers

MANDAN, N.D. -- Speed kills. Or, in the case of Hatton-Northwood, it prolongs a bid for a state championship. The Thunder ran rampant here Thursday, stealing seven bases in a 7-4 win against Velva-Drake in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Cl...

Dakota Prairie
Shiloh's Tommy Dwyer makes it safe to 1st while Dakota Prairie first baseman, Alex Vasichek, left, and pitcher Kyle Lamb, center, attempt to make the out. Dwyer hit the ball and it bounced off the pitcher who ran to 1st base while Vasichek fielded the ball. Photo by Tom Stromme/Bismarck Tribune.

MANDAN, N.D. -- Speed kills. Or, in the case of Hatton-Northwood, it prolongs a bid for a state championship.

The Thunder ran rampant here Thursday, stealing seven bases in a 7-4 win against Velva-Drake in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state high school baseball tournament. Of the seven Thunder runs, stolen bases figured in four of them. Hatton-Northwood meets defending champion Minot Ryan in a semifinal game tonight.

"We started doing it the regional,' said Eric Dafforn, who had three stolen bases for the Thunder, as well as going 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBIs. "We talked coach into it; we told him we wanted to run more. Right now that's a huge part of our game.'

Hatton-Northwood averaged only 2.4 steals a game entering state. "Can't you have a secret weapon?' Thunder coach Chad Omdahl said with a smile. "We have some speed. We wanted to come out aggressive. . . . It worked early, so we kept going.'

Hatton-Northwood stole five bases in a two-run first inning and had another steal while scoring twice in the second. Velva-Drake pulled within 5-4 on Garrett Wible's two-run single in the fifth. But Dafforn followed a Ryan Pladson double with a run-scoring single in the sixth and the Thunder added an unearned run in the seventh.


Left-hander Tyler Bilden got the win, scattering 12 hits and got help in the bottom of the sixth when, with two on and two out, Dafforn ran down a high fly to deep center field to end the inning.

"Tyler came up big,' Omdahl said. "Yeah, he gave up 12 hits. But he came up big in tough spots. He showed heart.'

BISMARCK SHILOH CHRISTIAN 5, DAKOTA PRAIRIE 1: Junior right-hander Zach Lardy pitched a 5-hitter, striking out four, as Shiloh Christian (16-0-1) beat Dakota Prairie (17-1) in a matchup of the tournament's two unbeatens.

Shiloh Christian took advantage of three walks and a third-strike passed ball to score two unearned runs in the first without a hit and never trailed. Shiloh Christian added three more runs in the fourth.

Dakota Prairie outhit Shiloh Christian 5-2, with Braydon Gourneau going 2-for-4 with a double to lead the Knights. But Dakota Prairie left six runners in scoring position on base, including a scoreless second inning when the Knights had the bases loaded with nobody out.

"We beat ourselves,' Knights coach Garrett Magner said. "We gave up three runs on wild pitches or passed balls; we haven't done that in three years. And we had guys on the basepaths the whole game long, but we didn't get any clutch hits.'

CENTRAL CASS 7, GRAFTON 6: Alex Jacobson was a difference-maker. He went 3-for-4, driving in five runs. His two-run single in the top of the seventh inning tied the score at 6-6. In the ninth, after Jack Wilcox singled and advanced to second on a walk, Jacobson lined another single to center to drive in the game-winning run. Jacobson finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs.

Jacobson "has been a tremendous surprise,' Squirrels coach Justin Fletschock said. "He started the year at the No. 9 spot in our lineup and he's worked his way up to the middle of the order. He's gotten clutch hits.'


Grafton had taken a 6-4 lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, with Sam Tweten and Joe Demers each driving in a run.

But in the top of the seventh, Tweten's two-out throwing error at second base opened the door for Jacobson's game-tying hit. Grafton also was hurt by its own control problems. Spoilers pitchers walked nine batters, with three of those scoring runs and two driving in runs in bases-loaded situations.

"Things happen,' Spoilers coach Chad Kliniske said. Tweten's error "was just poor timing for us. And we haven't had any games with that many walks this year.'

Alex Martinez was 3-for-4, Tweten had a pair of hits and Todd Paulson drove in two to pace Grafton.

MINOT RYAN 8, MUNICH-STARKWEATHER-NORTH STAR 2: The fifth inning was the undoing for Munich-Starkweather-North Star.

Blake Klein's hard ground-ball single drove in the tying run in the bottom of the third inning, pulling M-S-NS even at 2-2. But defending state champion Minot Ryan took command with six runs in the fifth. Ryan sent 10 batters to the plate in the outburst. Kyle Petz and Ben Magnuson each had run-scoring doubles to highlight the inning, in which Ryan had only three hits but took advantage of three Magicians errors.

"It's tough to come back when we're down like that,' M-S-NS coach Adam Wirth said. "We don't have enough sticks in our lineup.'

Magnuson got the pitching win, going the distance. He pitched one-hit ball over the final four innings, not allowing a runner past second base in that span. Alex Hoffman had two of M-S-NS's five hits in the game. "He threw fairly hard,' Wirth said. "It seemed like we weren't on him. We didn't swing well.'

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