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Three home runs get EGF Sacred Heart through Section 8A first round with ease

The Eagles defeat the Northern Freeze 15-1.

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The Eagles gather around home plate to celebrate Sacred Heart batter Sam Gapp's (9) two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning of a Minn. Section 8A quarterfinal game against the Northern Freeze at Stauss Park in East Grand Forks on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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EAST GRAND FORKS – The game had long been decided before Sam Gapp stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third. The Sacred Heart Eagles (17-3) built a commanding lead against the Northern Freeze from the start as Nick Brundin and Cullen Rohrich each hit a two-run home run into deep left field in the first two innings.

Then Gapp popped a two-run shot over the left field fence again for the third round-tripper in as many innings, leading Sacred Heart to a 15-1 win in the first round of the Section 8A tournament on Wednesday at Stauss Park.

“Like most games we come into, we know in our heads we are the better team. We are meant to win, but it was still there in our heads that it could be the last game of the season for seniors,” Gapp said after his home run and win.

Gapp also started a near-perfect performance on the mound for the Eagles alongside Ethan Arntson and Josiah Sundby. In the five combined innings the trio threw, they gave up only one base hit and a run that was scored on a sacrifice fly by a baserunner who reached on an error. They combined for 64 pitches and threw just 16 balls.

“Our offense dictated that we could (use three pitchers), but we just wanted them to go out there and throw strikes. That’s how we can be efficient and keep as many pitchers available,” Sacred Heart coach Paul Bethke said. “We were sticking with Sam as long as we needed to, but they will all still be available tomorrow.”

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The hit parade started right away in the first inning as Sacred Heart scored three runs on four hits. Rohrich jumped on the first pitch he faced and was immediately brought in by a Gapp single to open the scoring. Then, Brundin launched the first home run of the day.

In the second inning, Rohrich added to the long bomb party when he was finally able to time one in fair play after some solid fouled attempts he was early on. However, it was the third inning where the score bloomed.

“The plan worked out today because our offense took care of their side. It’s been building up here the last couple of weeks, which is what you want really. We do a lot of our damage on the bases and they are all super aggressive there,” said Bethke.

RBI singles from Caden Reimer and Breck Bloom were tacked on early in the Sacred Heart half. Then with two outs, a misplay on a pop-up to first base allowed Isaac Zavoral and Bloom to score. Rohrich cut deeper into the Freeze errors when a wild throw on an attempted steal of third base brought him in to score. This would be capped off by the third home run of the game by Gapp, making the score 12-0.

The Eagles now move on to a double-header slate in Greenbush on Thursday that starts with a game against West Marshall Fusion.

“Take nothing for granted,” Bethke said. “As we continue we need to win one inning at a time. It doesn’t matter the score. Even in a game like this you want the momentum to still be on your side when the game is up.”

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Northern Freeze third baseman Parker Nelsonmakes the catch as Sacred Heart runner Mike Gapp, right, dives into the bag during a Minn. Section 8A quarterfinals baseball game at Stauss Park in East Grand Forks on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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Coaches and players from the Sacred Heart baseball team gather in prayer prior to a Minn. Section 8A quarterfinals game against the Northern Freeze at Stauss Park in East Grand Forks on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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Sacred Heart's Sam Gapp watches his pitch fly toward home plate during a Minn. Section 8A quarterfinals game against Northern Freeze at Stauss Park in East Grand Forks on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Sacred Heart 15,

Northern Freeze 1

NF 000 10x x 1 1 3

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SH 327 3xx x 15 15 1

NF – Riley Duran 1-2; Reese Sundberg RBI; Caleb Bray R; Bray (L) 2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 K

SH – Cullen Rohrich 3-3, HR, 4 RBI; Sam Gapp 2-3, HR, 3 RBI; Nick Brundin, 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Caden Reimer 3-3, RBI; Breck Bloom 2-3, 2 RBI; Parker Erickson 1-3, RBI; Isaac Telle 1-1, RBI; Ethan Arntson 1-4; David Larson 1-2; Gapp (W) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 K

Related Topics: SACRED HEARTBASEBALL
Digital Content Producer and Sports Reporter at the Grand Forks Herald since December of 2020. Maxwell can be contacted at mmarko@gfherald.com.
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