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Langdon-E-M starts strong in state Class B tournament

Cardinals advance to semifinal round

state b baseball thompson celebrate 060321.jpg
Thompson's Drew Overby (9) reaches to hi-five Braden Wolfgram (10) during a four-run-second-inning against Minot Bishop Ryan/South Prairie Thursday, June 3, 2021, at the North Dakota State Class B Boys' Baseball Tournament at Jack Brown Stadium in Jamestown. John M. Steiner / The Sun

JAMESTOWN -- Simon Romfo didn't just hit the first home run of this week's state Class B baseball tournament.

The Langdon/Edmore/Munich senior shortstop visited the deepest part of historic Jack Brown Stadium.

Romfo blasted an Aaron Ripplinger pitch on the outer half of the plate the opposite way for an estimated 380-foot, two-run homer in the first inning of Thursday's quarterfinal matchup against the Beulah Miners.

Landon/EM defeated Beulah 6-1.

"I was just looking to go first pitch," Romfo said. "I got a good pitch to hit, so I just wanted to not pull off on it and take it the other way where it came from."

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Where it went ended up over the fence in left-center field and gave the unbeaten Cardinals a 2-0 lead. The tournament's No. 1 seed added three runs in the second, loading the bases on a pair of hits and a walk before plating runs via a fielder's choice, an error, and a passed ball.

"Honestly, I think we were a little shell-shocked right away," said Beulah coach Isaac Michaelson. "The two-run homer in the first inning, I think we let that get to us a little bit. That's on me for not calming the guys down and getting them refocused."

But Romfo's twin brother, Grant Romfo, was also dealing on the mound.

Grant Romfo took a perfect game into the fourth inning and left after tossing five scoreless frames and racking up seven strikeouts.

The Cardinals (22-0) will play either Thompson in Friday's semifinals at 6:30 p.m.

Thompson 4, Minot Ryan 2

Thompson second baseman Brayden Wolfgram keeps his approach at the plate fairly simple, kinda how one might expect a freshman batting ninth in the state tournament would.

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"Just keeping it simple," Wolfgram said. "Put the ball in play and get on base for the top of the order."

Wolfgram did more than that on Thursday facing Minot Bishop Ryan in the quarterfinals of the state Class B baseball tournament at Jack Brown Stadium.

The freshman punched a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded into center field in the second inning, accounting for the Tommies' only RBI in a 4-2 victory over the Lions. A Bishop Ryan error on Wolfgram's hit allowed a second run to score, kicking off a messy four-run second that made that difference.

Thompson moves on to play unbeaten Langdon/Edmore/Munich in Friday's semifinals at 6:30 p.m.

"It doesn't have to be pretty here," Thompson coach Nate Soulis said. "It's survive and advance."

Bishop Ryan starter Logan Merck walked the first three batters he faced in the second to load the sacks, and he'd be pulled for reliever Seth Roedocker after just an inning of work.

Roedocker was able to record the first out of the inning before Wolfgram's clutch hit, and the Tommies would scratch two more runs across on a balk and a wild pitch to lead 4-0 heading into the third.

"We talked about it all week," Soulis said. "All regional tournament, we never really got that big hit that kinda separated us, and we get a nine-hitter -- freshman -- that just kinda clutched up for us, and credit to Brayden. He put together a good at-bat."

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Thompson starting pitcher Tyler Cunningham tossed five solid innings, allowing just the two earned runs on three hits and three walks while striking out a pair. Soulis was able to hand the ball over to ace Kyle Odenbach in the sixth, who locked down a hitless two-inning save.

Odenbach will take the mound to start Friday's semifinal against the top-seeded Cardinals.

"We have all the confidence in that kid, and great job by Tyler Cunningham to come in today," Soulis said. "He's just a gamer. He'll come out and compete and he gave us a chance today."

Soulis said the Tommies will be looking for a clean defensive game behind Odenbach in the semifinals.

"Put pressure on them," Soulis said. "We got Kyle on the mound, so our defense is going to be fully confident. We played a great defensive game today, so let's just go out and play Tommy baseball and see what happens."

L-L-M 22, North Star 4

The unseeded North Star Bearcats wound up poking the bear in Thursday's quarterfinals of the state Class B baseball tournament.

The underdog hung three runs on the board in the top of the second inning against third-seeded LaMoure/Litchville-Marion at Jack Brown Stadium. But the Loboes responded with seven runs in the bottom half in an 11-4 victory over the Region 5 champions.

LaMoure/LM will play Renville County in Friday's semifinals at 4:30 p.m.

"That's kinda what we've been doing lately, having the big inning," LaMoure/LM coach Derold Haugen said. "Then all of a sudden we'll go quiet again and, finally, we got a couple extra in the last two which were awfully nice."

The Loboes sent 12 batters to the plate in the second, scoring seven runs on six singles, two walks, and a hit batter. North Star starting pitcher Dane Hagler only made it through 1 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs to cross the plate.

"We left some pitches up, but they're good hitters," said North Star coach Jesse Vote. "They get a fastball down and they'd throw their bat at the ball and it just seemed like it found the grass.

"Lots of credit to them," Vote added. "I don't know that we expected that much of a fundamental baseball team, both offensively and defensively, but they brought it to us."

North Star's Karsen Simon unloaded a bases-clearing double to center off LaMoure/LM starter Landon Piehl in the second, giving the visitors on the scoreboard an early 3-0 lead. But Piehl was strong throughout, striking out eight batters in the complete-game victory.

North Star's Jeremiah Hill clubbed a pair of doubles during a 2-for-3 afternoon for North Star, who'll receive a tough draw in Friday's consolation play. The Bearcats will play Central Cass at 11:30 a.m. after the second-seeded Squirrels were knocked off by unseeded Renville County 7-3.

"Trying to get (our players) back mentally is gonna be a challenge," Vote said. "Hopefully our seniors can step up and make sure that they're preaching.

"Only eight teams are here and there's a lot of people that would've wished they'd gotten this opportunity. It's a new day."

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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