Wahpeton opened their American Legion baseball season against one of the toughest teams they’ll face all summer: the Grand Forks Royals. The game was in reach for Post 20 in the early going, but a five-run explosion blew the game open in an 8-0 Royal win on Thursday, June 6.
“It’s been a long spring it feels like. A long, hard one for most of us,” Wahpeton coach Kelly McNary said. “We finally had a little bit of nice weather at the end of the high school season and here we are after about 10 days playing baseball in beautiful weather. It’s awesome. Fun to be out here.”
Grand Forks put two on the board in the first and tagged on one more in the third. The visitors didn’t add to the lead for a few innings before the sleeping giant woke up.
“They’re a good team. They’re double A, we’re single A, but that makes no difference. We’re here to play baseball today,” McNary said. “It’s fun to hook up with these guys. We’ve got a lot of respect for each other and that’s what brings us together. We look forward to playing each other each year. They’ve got some good bats in the lineup and obviously some pretty good arms, too.”
Trenton Dufner, a newcomer to the team from Richland 44, boomed a double to deep center. Dufner also nearly notched the second hit of the day for Wahpeton, but the throw was in time at first.
“It’s nice to have a bat in the lineup like his. He’s probably going to be one of those guys that gets on base pretty frequently,” McNary said. “He’s got speed, some pop in his bat and we’re looking for that type of guy to get a line drive to get two or three bases for us. We’re very happy to have him and he’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Nick Bronson had the only other Post 20 hit in the opener with a single to left.
Isaac Getz, Brett Gilbertson and Isaac Loosmore split the pitching duties for Wahp.
The Royals went on to take the nightcap by a score of 5-1.
Next up for Wahpeton is their conference opener in Kindred, North Dakota. The first game starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 7.