N.D. CLASS B BASEBALL: State-bound Thompson averages 5 steals a game

THOMPSON--Thompson didn't have a top-eight finisher in either the 100 or 200 in the Northeast Region boys track meet, nor did the Tommies place in either of the short relays.

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THOMPSON-Thompson didn't have a top-eight finisher in either the 100 or 200 in the Northeast Region boys track meet, nor did the Tommies place in either of the short relays.

Thompson baseball coach Brady Schwab isn't sure his team had speedsters who could have helped in the sprints.

"More than half the kids in our lineup are good runners,'' Schwab said. But, he added, "we don't run as far as the the track sprinters do. I know that to run out a triple, our players are tired. It's a long way for them.''

A hundred meters may be a long way, but the 90 feet from base to base has been a big factor in the success of Thompson. The Tommies' aggressive base running has helped them to a 19-2 record, a Region 2 title and a berth in the Class B state high school baseball tournament, which begins Thursday in Fargo.

In 21 games, six Thompson players have 11 or more stolen bases, led by brothers Cadyn and Calen Schwabe, with 22 and 19, respectively. The team has 105, an average of five per game.


"Obviously, you have to have some speed,'' Schwab said. "And we work on base stealing-reading pitchers, getting good leads, being aggressive. The kids want to run. They understand when to run.

"The running has been a big part of our offense. If we get on first and can steal second, it takes pressure off the hitters. It's a lot easier getting a guy home from second than it is from first. And we aren't a team built on power. We have to find ways to get guys into scoring position.''

There isn't a lot of power. Trey Larimer has hit the team's lone home run this season. "The last team we took to state (in 2014) was completely reliant on power,'' Schwab said. "This team is the total opposite.''

Thompson can bunch runs together with a combination of speed and efficient hitting.

The Tommies have a .379 team batting average, led by Cadyn Schwabe (.571), Calen Schwabe (.455, team-high 31 RBI), Tyler Hegg (.410), Marcus Hughes (.373), Brett Sutter (.365), Trey Larimer (.364) and Malek Larimer (.362). Malek Larimer has a team-leading 12 extra-base hits, accounting for one-fourth of the team's season total.

Thompson hasn't required a lot of runs to win as its pitching staff has been stingy allowing runs. Calen Schwabe (4-1, 0.24 earned run average. 44 strikeouts in 28.2 innings) and Hegg (6-0, 1.06, 53 strikeouts in 33 innings) lead the staff.

"If we hang our hat on something, it's our pitching,'' Schwab said. "We can stop teams pretty well. It's a combination of things. Some days, our kids are pretty good on the mound. Some days when they're struggling, we've done a good job of picking the ball behind them.''

And, in tight situations, Thompson's offense has been able to steal a run on the bases.


Thompson at a glance

Coach: Brady Schwab.

Record: 19-2, Region 2 champion.

State tournament opener: The third-seeded Tommies play Rugby at 2 p.m. Thursday in the state quarterfinals in Fargo.

Recent state tournament history: The Tommies are returning to the state tournament after a one-year absence. It will be Thompson's third state appearance in the past four seasons.

Regular lineup: fr. Cadyn Schwabe (.571, 18 RBI, 22 SB), sr. Malek Larimer (.362, 23 RBI, 11 SB, team-leading 12 extra-base hits), jr. Calen Schwabe (.455, 31 RBI, 19 SB), jr. Brett Sutter-Hegg (.365, 16 RBI, 11 SB), soph. Trey Larimer (.364, 1 HR, 23 RBI), sr. Hunter Ness (.241, 8 RBI, 11 SB), soph. Tyler Hegg (.410, 14 RBI), fr. Marcus Hughes (.373, 9 RBI, 12 SB), soph. Braeden Amborn (.333, 6 RBI).

Pitching regulars: Calen Schwabe (4-1, 0.24 ERA, 44K in 28.2 IP), Hegg (6-0, 1.06, 53K in 33 IP), Cadyn Schwabe (2-0, 2.21, 23K in 19 IP), Ness (3-1, 2.15).

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