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PREP BASEBALL: Aggies use big first inning to knock off Northern Cass

FARGO--The first state tournament appearance in program history got off to an ideal start for Park River/Fordville-Lankin. The No. 4 seed Aggies scored six runs in their first at-bat en route to a 10-4 victory over Northern Cass on Thursday, June...

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FARGO--The first state tournament appearance in program history got off to an ideal start for Park River/Fordville-Lankin.

The No. 4 seed Aggies scored six runs in their first at-bat en route to a 10-4 victory over Northern Cass on Thursday, June 2, in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class B state tournament at Newman Outdoor Field.

"That was exactly the way we wanted to come out and play," PRFL coach Brett Omdahl said. "We put our foot down right away."

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PRFL, which improved to 14-5, plays No. 1 Beulah in Friday's 7 p.m. semifinal.

The Aggies sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. Daman Flaten, Steven Thompson and Will Zimmerman had run-scoring hits, while Northern Cass helped the rally with two runs scored on passed balls and one on a bases-loaded walk.

"That really helped me going out there in the second inning with a six-run lead," said PRFL starting pitcher Trent Carlson, who pitched into the sixth inning.

Carlson, a junior left-hander, worked his way out of a number of jams. He wiggled out of bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth innings, then needed the help of Zimmerman out of the bullpen to get out of a bases-loaded mess in the sixth.

Zimmerman, a hard-throwing senior right-hander, recorded the final six outs and four of those came via the strikeout.

"Trent has been doing that all year long," Omdahl said of his ability to escape major damage with runners on base. "We've came to him as of late, and he's doing just as he has tonight. He's gone deep into games and won some big games for us."

Brennen Neva and Sawyer Burchill led the Jaguars with a pair of hits, although Northern Cass couldn't receive enough big hits in key spots.

"I thought we would come out better out of the gates," Northern Cass coach Ron Leraas said. "We struggled to throw strikes.

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"We had our chances. We didn't get timely hitting. When you're not throwing strikes or getting timely hits, it isn't a good combination."

The Aggies have some familiarity with Beulah. PRFL lost 4-3 in extra innings to the Miners in the fourth game of the season at a tournament in Enderlin.

The tournament setup called for runners to be placed on base at the beginning of an inning to settle the extra-inning games at the tournament. The Miners scored after they were given a runner to start the frame on third base.

"It was a competitive ballgame, and it should be tomorrow, too," Omdahl said.

 

Related Topics: PREP SPORTSBASEBALL
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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