N.D. CLASS B BASEBALL: Patriots hold on, advance
MANDAN, N.D. - May-Port-CG's Aaron Ust was one cool customer at the hot corner in the seventh inning of Thursday's state Class B baseball tournament.
MANDAN, N.D. – May-Port-CG’s Aaron Ust was one cool customer at the hot corner in the seventh inning of Thursday’s state Class B baseball tournament.
Ust made two great plays as the Patriots held off another Harvey-Wells County rally to beat the Hornets 10-7 in a first-round game at Memorial Ballpark.
With the win, May-Port-CG moves into Friday’s semifinal against Velva-Drake.
With the Patriots leading by three and runners on first and second with no outs, Ust dived to his left to top a liner from Trevor Schimke and had the presence of mind to pick up the ball and step on the base for a force out.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Shawn Kourajian lined a shot down the line that Ust dived to his right to backhand and end the game.
“That was a senior stepping up and fielding his position,” coach Eric Nygaard said. “Those were hard-hit balls.”
That’s why it’s the hot corner, and that’s why Ust is there.
“I mainly focus on the batter and tune everything else out,” Ust said. “Just wait for the pitch, wait for the hit and watch the ball. We all want to make the play.”
The difference was that Ust made the play. The game was anything but spectacular, save for Ust’s two game-saving plays.
May-Port-CG scored five unearned runs with two outs in the top of the first with the help of four walks, two errors and a wild pitch, then lost it momentum in the bottom of the first. The Hornets took advantage of two hits, two errors and two walks by starter Zach Arnegard.
Nygaard said he chose the soft-throwing Arnegard to start because he wanted all of his seniors in the lineup at the start. Arnegard walked the first two batters and lasted just five batters before he was relieved by Jacob Klath.
Klath worked 5 2/3 of relief to pick up the win. He was relieved by Ian Chandler in the seventh.
All told, MPCG pitchers Gave up eight hits and walked five batters, hit a batter and suffered through four errors behind them.
Brady Nygaard had two hits, a triple and scored two runs, one in the two-run second that gave the Patriots a 7-4 lead. Josh Gapp had two hits, including a double and drove in two runs.
The Hornets added three runs off Klath in the third, two on Ismael Gomez’s single, to tie it 7-7.
Klath settled in from there. He threw just three pitched in the fifth inning and kept the Hornet’s at bay while the Patriots added single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
He was replaced by Chandler after letting the first two batters reach in the seventh.
“Our kids rallied behind him. That’s what they’ve done the last two week,” Eric Nygaard said. “They’ve just grinded it out.”