Wahpeton played a grind of a schedule in their annual trip to the Williston/Delaney Tournament. After a pair of losses to Canadian teams, Post 20 fell short of wins against the Miles City, Montana, Outlaws and Sturgis, South Dakota. Wahp bounced back in their final game on Sunday, June 16 with an 8-3 win over the Billings, Montana, Upper Deck Expos.
“Our first game Thursday I thought we were a little lethargic or that we weren’t there mentally. We talked to the kids about that and how much it means just to show up and not worry so much about the scoreboard, but to just play your game,” Wahpeton coach Kelly McNary said. “Every game got better throughout the tournament. We saw a lot of good things happening along the way as far as kids buying in to what we were trying to teach them about just playing the game.”
Jake Uhlich spent six innings on the mound and held the opposing team to a pair of runs. He struck out five while only giving up seven hits and a pair of walks.
“We could’ve run him out for the last inning, but on Monday we extended him to the full 105 and didn’t want to do that to him in back-to-back games, so we pulled Jonah Enochson to finish it out,” McNary said. “Jake had a super ball game. He battled through a couple innings where they had bases loaded and I think he minimized one inning to only give up one run and another inning we actually got out of there without giving up a run.”
The defense had a pair of errors, but the mistakes didn’t cost Post 20 any runs. Just like their performance at the plate, Wahpeton’s play in the field got better with every outing.
Wahp tallied nine hits with a third of them coming off the bat of Trenton Dufner. The Post 20 newcomer is coming into his own in the No. 2 spot in the order.
“Two of those were leadoff hits where he started an inning for us that led to runs,” McNary said.
Dawson Hofman was another offensive standout in the win. After having to sit out the day before with an injury, the third baseman came through with a pair of doubles. One of them brought in a run.
“(Hofman) had some tenderness in his arm so that was affecting his swing and his throwing as well. We held him out to give him a break and he came back Sunday and had a nice game for us,” McNary said. “Those two guys (Dufner and Hofman) were on base a lot. We took advantage pretty well in that game with runners in scoring position. That was really our problem in our game that we got beat by Sturgis.”
With all the games in a short period of time, the whole roster had to pitch in more than usual. Brett Gilbertson came in to throw more innings on the hill than expected and Tori Uhlich saw time in multiple games.
“Brett Gilbertson ended up logging five or six innings for us and he did very well,” McNary said. “Tori (Uhlich) threw some innings and even started some games. The guys we had to plug in competed well in those last four games.”
Next up for Wahpeton is a pair of counters on the road against the Grand Forks Blues. The first game starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 19.
“It was a good weekend for us. We’re going to be fighting for wins this year, but the idea is to keep getting better. If we do that we’re going to surprise some people,” McNary said. “We’re going to be that team that maybe teams aren’t looking for and then we’re going to hopefully come in and knock some people off. That’s the goal. We’re still having a good time.”
Williston/Delaney Tournament Results
Saskatoon 8, Wahpeton 2
Regina 8, Wahpeton 0
Miles City 9, Wahpeton 0
Sturgis 10, Wahpeton 6
Wahpeton 8, Billings 3