PREP BASEBALL: Riders win, advance to semifinals
FARGO -- There is no better time for an efficient pitching performance than the postseason. And Grand Forks Red River's Jake Knecht came through with one of the Riders' best outings of the season. The left-handed Knecht pitched a complete game to...
FARGO -- There is no better time for an efficient pitching performance than the postseason.
And Grand Forks Red River’s Jake Knecht came through with one of the Riders’ best outings of the season.
The left-handed Knecht pitched a complete game to lift the Roughriders to a 3-1 win over Fargo Shanley on Thursday in the opening round of the North Dakota East Region tournament.
Knecht held the Deacons scoreless through the first six innings.
“It’s really important to throw strikes and let the defense play behind you,” said Knecht, who threw 57 of his 86 pitches for strikes. “A zero in the error column really helps.”
Shanley mounted its best rally in the seventh inning as its first two runners reached base. Knecht countered by striking on the next two batters. The Deacons then cut the Red River lead to 3-1 after sophomore Caleb Davis cracked an RBI double.
Knecht closed the door on the Deacons, however, getting Justin DeKeyser to fly out to right field for the final out, stranding runners on second and third base.
“He just settled down,” Red River coach Mark Varriano said of Knecht working out of that seventh-inning jam. “He remembered his mechanics and threw the ball across the dish.”
Red River built a three-run lead after a two-run fourth inning. Roughriders junior Casey Schumacher sparked that rally with an RBI single. Red River senior Eric Leach scored on wild pitch to give the Roughriders a 3-0 lead.
“We’ve got to play with more urgency from the first pitch,” Shanley coach Luke Rustad said. “If we come out with more energy I think we’ll be OK, and keep it throughout the game.”
Red River advances to today’s semifinal round against Fargo Davies.
Fargo North 6, GF Central 3
Fargo North's big fifth inning energized the team enough to get the Spartans past Grand Forks Central in the first round of the tournament.
The No. 5 seed Spartans were down 2-1 entering the fifth inning when Carter Thompson picked up two RBIs on a triple to center field to give Fargo North a 3-2 lead. The rally wasn't over, though.
A costly error by Central third baseman Nick Lund that would have ended the inning on a double play instead cost the Knights runners on first and third. A sacrifice bunt by Fargo North's Tyler Anderson scored Carter Thompson, and the Spartans ended the inning up 5-2.
"When you get a triple that clears the bases, it's a kinda nice thing," Fargo North head coach Jeff Fiechtner said. "It was a big hit for us from Carter. Carter's been our big hitter so he's the guy our team kinda relies on in a situation like that."
Central will play Wahpeton in a loser-out game today.