Bruins, Saints winFargo South’s David Ernst has one final chance to win a state title this season, and he’s doing everything he can to make it happen. Ernst, after clubbing a grand slam in the East Region championship last week in Wahpeton, went deep again in the third inning to spark a three-run inning and lead the top-seeded Bruins to a 7-0 victory over No. 4 Williston on Thursday in the opening round of the Class A state baseball tournament at Jack Brown Stadium in Jamestown.
Fargo South’s David Ernst has one final chance to win a state title this season, and he’s doing everything he can to make it happen.
Ernst, after clubbing a grand slam in the East Region championship last week in Wahpeton, went deep again in the third inning to spark a three-run inning and lead the top-seeded Bruins to a 7-0 victory over No. 4 Williston on Thursday in the opening round of the Class A state baseball tournament at Jack Brown Stadium in Jamestown.
“David carries us on his back all the time,” said South coach Donn Bryant. “When he hit that home run it seemed everyone woke up and that was great. That’s what a leader is supposed to do.”
Brady Horner reached on a two-out error to bring Ernst to the plate and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior took Williston pitcher Conner Long’s first pitch over the right-centerfield fence to give South a 2-0 lead.
“I was looking first pitch fastball and I got it,” said Ernst, who will be playing at North Dakota State next year.
Eric Moe added to the Bruins’ lead with a solo homer on the very next pitch and the Coyotes could never recover.
“The first time through the order, a team can shut us down, but our team is very tough the second time through the order,” Ernst said. “We put runs up and hits together.”
Three runs was more than enough for South (33-2) starter Seth Hochstatter to work with as the senior lefty worked seven scoreless innings to pick up the win. Hochstatter, who entered Thursday’s game with a 0.83 ERA, gave up five hits and struck out 10 to improve to 7-1 this year on the hill.
“This is my first time at state, so I was just riding high with adrenaline,” Hochstatter said. “Once I got a couple of outs it just started flowing.”
Hochstatter worked his way out of a first-inning jam after giving up two of his five hits in the opening frame, including a two-out double from Williston designated hitter Oliver Sogard. The early threat, however, ended with a strikeout.
“I was kind of thinking to myself, ‘if they score they’re setting the tone, and if I strike him out or get him out then we’re setting the tone,’” said Hochstatter. “I really just went after him.”
The Coyotes (6-11) nearly struck again in the sixth when they loaded the bases with just one out but Hochstatter escaped with a strikeout and a fly out to keep Williston scoreless.
“Our defense has come through all year long,” said Bryant. “They just did it again today.”
Long was saddled with the loss after allowing seven runs, four earned, over 5 1-3 innings. Two of the earned runs came in the fourth after an RBI double from Horner and a run-scoring single from Ernst — both coming with two outs.
Ernst, who has 46 RBIs this season, finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while Horner, who has signed with Jamestown College, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. South’s Scotty Krabbenhoft went 2-for-4 and Moe went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Bismarck St. Mary’s 1, Fargo Davies 0 (13 innings)
The pitchers stole the show in Game 2, but Bismarck St. Mary’s centerfielder Jordan Kenner delivered when it counted.
With runners on second and third in the bottom of the 13th inning, the senior drove a sinking liner to right-center to score Nick Jangula from third base and lift the Saints into the semifinals with a 1-0 win over Fargo Davies.
Kenner, who was hitless going into the 13th inning, got his chance with no outs after Jangula started the inning with a walk and Preston Tescher reached on a fielding error.
“I was telling myself the same thing I was telling myself every other time I got to the plate, ‘Look for a first-pitch strike and drive it somewhere,’” Kenner said.
And this time he got it.
“I was pretty relieved,” he said.
The Saints, who used two pitchers in the win, face top-seeded Fargo South next.
“We’re going to have to ice our arms and hope something good happens (Friday),” said St. Mary’s coach Reid Flaagan.
Travis Flamias started on the hill for the Saints (15-8) and threw six shutout innings allowing just three hits and striking out 10. Trent Bohan threw seven innings in relief and earned the win after holding the Eagles scoreless on two hits.
“The two guys (pitching) for us and the two guys for them were really battling,” Flaagan said. “You have to tip your hat to all the pitchers that were out there today.”
Casey Quinlan threw seven hitless innings for Davies (13-18) before being replaced by Brady Jordahl, who suffered the loss after giving up the game’s only run in his sixth inning of relief.
“It was a lot of innings played, so you have to try and clutch up every time you get to the plate,” Kenner said. “Things weren’t falling for us, but you can’t give up.”
Class A State Tournament
At Jack Brown Stadium
Fargo South 7, Williston 0
Williston 000 000 0 — 0 5 1
Fargo South 003 202 x — 7 11 1
Connor Long, Cory Vinger (6) and Jacob Brokaw. Seth Hochstatter and Scotty Krabbenhoft. W—Hochstatter. L—Long. 2B: WHS—Jordan Axness, Oliver Sogard; FS—Brady Horner. HR: FS—Eric Moe, David Ernst.
Records: Williston 6-11; Fargo South 33-2.
Bismarck St. Mary’s 1, Fargo Davies 0
Fargo Davies 000 000 000 000 0 — 0 5 3
St. Mary’s 000 000 000 000 1 — 1 4 2
Casey Quinlan, Brady Jordahl (8) and Michael Nemer. Travis Famias, Trent Bohan (7) and Preston Tescher. W—Bohan. L—Jordahl. 2B: SM—Cole Winbauer, Tescher.
Records: Fargo Davies 13-18; Bismarck St. Mary’s 15-8.
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached by phone at (701) 952-8462 or at firstname.lastname@example.org