Wahpeton’s second-round game with the Fargo Post 400 Comets was rescheduled to Sunday, June 23 and was shortened to five innings. Post 20 took care of business with a 6-2 win to move on to the championship game. Knowing they had another game later in the day, multiple reserves started and contributed to the victory.
“It was nice to get a few extra bodies in. That was kind of my intention going into that game,” Wahpeton coach Kelly McNary said. “I figured even though it was a five-inning game we could piece it together with a couple pitchers and give some other guys a chance.”
Isaac Getz and Brett Gilbertson split pitching duties and held their foes to four hits in the bout. Getz got into a little trouble with walks before Gilbertson came in to pick up the save.
“Isaac Getz hadn’t been on the hill for a while. He’s nursing a back injury and he threw very well the first two innings and then ran out of gas a little bit. He’s not in baseball shape yet where we need him to be,” McNary said. “It takes a little time to come back, but in the innings he threw he competed well. It was nice to see Brett be able to come in and do that for us.”
Jake Uhlich and Sawyer Malme each had a pair of hits and a run apiece. Malme also had an RBI in the win. Nick Thompson, one of the reserves stepping into a starting role, plated a pair of runs.
Post 20 moved on to the title game against the Dodge Center, Minnesota, Cobras. The pair of teams were tied 5-5 after the first two innings, but Dodge Center broke the game open with 10 runs in the fourth to cruise to a 16-8 victory. The mercy rule was eight runs for the tournament, which made it a five-inning ball game.
“They hit the ball very well. They took advantage of their baserunners and scored a lot of runs,” McNary said. “Coming into the game I knew they were going to hit well. We just needed to not give them any runs and we did here and there to allow them to tack on a few that maybe wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”
Uhlich and Trenton Dufner each scored on a wild pitch for the first Wahpeton two runs in the opening inning. Post 20 got three more in the next inning. The first was off a bad throw to first to bring in Hunter Wamre. Malme banged an RBI single to left and he went on to score the next run after an off-target pickoff throw.
“Our offense did pretty well today. We just couldn’t quite keep up with them. That’s the way it goes somedays,” McNary said.
Five Post 20 pitchers spent time on the hill. Three of them pitched during the 10-run explosion in the fourth.
“We knew we were going to be stringing two or three pitchers together and try to get to Jake (Uhlich) at the end and hopefully things would be close and we’d have a shot,” McNary said.
Despite trailing by 11 runs, the home team continued to fight. Uhlich cranked a double to lead off the inning and Dufner traded places with him by doing the same thing. Zach Manock plated Dufner with a sac fly and the final Wahp run came off another fielder’s choice by Isaac Loosemore.
“In the last couple innings we battled well and used the outs as good as we could. If it’s not an eight-run rule maybe we’re still playing and something happens out of that,” McNary said.
Malme and Tori Uhlich were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Wahpeton hits the road for a 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 doubleheader against Casselton, North Dakota. They have a couple more road trips the next two days.