PREP BASEBALL: Spoilers gets another crack at state championship

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- Held to four hits on Thursday, Grafton's offense was a ticking time bomb. The Spoilers made Washburn-Wilton-Center-Stanton the victim, pounding out 17 hits in an 11-4 semifinal win Friday at the North Dakota Class B state high ...

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Grafton logo

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- Held to four hits on Thursday, Grafton's offense was a ticking time bomb.

The Spoilers made Washburn-Wilton-Center-Stanton the victim, pounding out 17 hits in an 11-4 semifinal win Friday at the North Dakota Class B state high school baseball tournament.

"We wanted to come in and be aggressive. Any time we're aggressive, we put a lot of runs on the board," Grafton senior Joe Demers said. "Seventeen hits, that's pretty impressive."

The win marks the second straight year Grafton (18-5) has advanced to the championship game, where the Spoilers will meet Beulah at 7 p.m. today. Kindred-Richland topped the Spoilers in last year's final.

"It was a heartbreaking game last year," Demers said. "With seven starters back, we knew what we had to do. The goal was to get back and this time, finish our business."


Demers was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI. He had a two-run homer in the sixth inning that easily cleared the right-field fence.

"I kind of needed that one," he said. "It was right on the sweet spot."

Grafton got on the board early with five runs on five hits in the first inning, punctuated by a two-run double from Garek Droog. The Spoilers scored one in the third and one in the fourth before a four-run sixth put the game away. Jaime Villarreal also had three hits and Droog added three RBI.

Demers improved to 6-1 on the year from the mound, where he gave up one earned run on six hits in seven innings. He struck out four, walked three and plunked one.

Grafton coach Chad Kliniske said he was a little leery of his team's pre-game attitude.

"The mood was so business-like," he said. "There was no laughing or joking when we got here. It was all business."

After one run in the first, the Cardinals added three in the fifth on a bases-clearing double from cleanup hitter Kirk Sailer, who finished with a team-high three hits.

Evan Eberle (5-1) suffered the loss on the hill, going all six innings and giving up seven earned for the Cardinals (21-5), who lost to Grafton for the seventh straight time in two seasons. WWCS plays in the third-place game, set for 4:30 p.m.


Consolation semifinals

Bottineau 9, Hatton-Northwood 0: The Braves dumped seven runs on Hatton-Northwood pitcher Greg Thompson in the fourth inning to advance to today's fifth-place game.

Bottineau's Justin McCloud did a variety of damage, finishing 2-for-5 with a double and four RBI. McCloud (6-1) also fired a six-hit complete-game shutout. He walked one and struck out six.

"Justin had a huge game, offensively and pitching-wise," Bottineau coach Nate Simpson said. "I like Justin as a pitcher. He works quick and he's stays low in the zone."

The Braves (19-4) scored two in the third, but it was a bases-clearing double by McCloud in the fourth that broke the game wide open. Bottineau tallied six hits in the inning and got a strong performance from freshman Brock Hiltner, who finished 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI out of his No. 6 spot.

The bottom four hitters in Bottineau's lineup tallied eight of the team's 13 hits.

"We usually hit the ball well against pitchers who throw hard," said Simpson, whose team fell 4-3 to Washburn-Wilton-Center-Stanton in Thursday's quarterfinals. "Our approach was better at the plate."

Thompson (4-2) went four innings, though only three of the nine runs scored on him were earned. He gave up 10 hits, walked one and struck out four. Offensively, five players each logged a single for the Thunder (15-3).


Hatton-Northwood plays Carrington at 11 a.m. today in the seventh-place game.

Kindred-Richland 5, Carrington 0: Starting pitcher Sean Cose didn't need it, but he got plenty of help as Kindred-Richland (19-10) bounced back from a quarterfinal loss with four runs in the first inning to advance to today's fifth-place game.

The big inning was keyed by a two-run double from Brandon Mitchell, who also homered in the fourth inning. Five of the Vikings' eight hits were doubles including two from Zach Nelson.

"When you've got teammates behind you scoring runs, it lets you relax and do what you have to do," Cose said.

The senior hurler kept Carrington's bats silent with a two-hit shutout. Cose (5-1) gave up a single in the second and third innings and finished with two walks and five strikeouts. He needed just 69 pitches.

"We had to come out and show people we can play, if they had any questions," Cose said. "We can do the job."

Carrington starter Peter Henson (5-1) allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings. Clay Heinley and Alex Nelson had the Cardinals' only hits. Carrington (18-5) has just one run on five hits in two tournament losses.

The Forum and the Herald are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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