West Fargo doubles up Grand Forks Red River 10-5 in EDC baseball
Jaden Rustad collects four RBI, but the Packers score five runs in the final two innings
GRAND FORKS – Grand Forks Red River overcame a three-run deficit against West Fargo, on Tuesday at Kraft Field but the Roughriders couldn’t keep up with the Packers.
Eventually falling 10-5, Red River was knotted up with West Fargo in the fifth inning. Jaden Rustad pulled through with a two-run double in the fourth, his fourth RBI of the night, before Logan Okstad scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
Then the Packer bats came alive in the final two innings. Mason Stoelting drove in the go-ahead run with his second RBI single of the night, Jaden Grefsrud powered a single through the infield to tack on one more, Peyton Jantzi contributed an RBI single in the top of the seventh and then Seth Wigestrand jumped on the first pitch to score the ninth and 10th run of the game.
“Our offense has been able to be consistent and that has carried us and pushed us this far into the season. When there have been delays or we have been forced inside there isn’t a problem working on hitting, so we’ve been lucky to work on that when we can,” West Fargo head coach Brett Peterson said.
West Fargo (11-3) remains perfect in EDC play as their 8-0 conference record leads West Fargo Sheyenne by one game.
Red River falls to 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the EDC after its rally ccame up short. They stay four games back of first with two games remaining in the regular season.
“It’s always a battle with them. When we see them in the tournament it’s always a one-run game and always a tough test. Today definitely could have been in their favor. We could take five innings and they could take the next five,” said Peterson.
In the EDC preseason poll, West Fargo was picked to finish fifth–one slot below Red River.
The Roughriders put themselves in strong positions to take control of the game, but the West Fargo defense came up clutch. After Rustad pulled Red River into a 5-4 deficit in the bottom of the fourth, Noah Burger roped a liner into center field but a diving catch from Stoelting prevented two runs from potentially scoring.
Then, with a man on in the bottom of the seventh, Cole LeDuc poked a shallow fly ball that looked as if it was dropping for a single. But left fielder Ethan Smith hauled in a sliding catch and doubled up the runner at first with a strong throw, starting off the final inning with a stellar double play.
“Our defensive consistency is one thing that I felt needs work,” Peterson said. “Those plays out there showed our capability and were timely. In both instances, we kept the floodgates from opening with what looked to be some solid contact from those guys.”
While the defensive poise saved the game in those instances, their offensive capabilities were apparent all game long. The top of the first saw the Packers score three runs on two hits from Grefsrud and Wigestrand.
“Very exciting when we can put together innings like that and put the game in our hands right from the start. Definitely something we want to keep doing heading into the postseason,” said Peterson.
The Packers have games against Shanley and Fargo South to defend their first-place positioning.
West Fargo 10,
Grand Forks Red River 5
WFH 301 102 3 10 13 1
GFRR 020 210 0 5 6 2
WFH – Mason Stoelting 2-4, 2 RBI; Seth Wigestrand 3-4, 2 RBI; Jaden Grefsrud 3-4, 3 RBI; Matt Heupel 1-3, RBI; Peyton Jantzi 1-3, RBI; Caleb Anderson 2-2; Anderson (W) 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
GFRR – Carter Byron 3-4; Mason Stroh 1-1, 2 BB; Jaden Rustad 2-3, 4 RBI; Cole LeDuc (L) 7 IP, 13 H, 8 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO