Cards ready for first tripAfter what seemed like a month, the day the Carrington Cardinal baseball team has been waiting for has finally arrived. The Cardinals take to the diamond at Jack Brown Stadium today at 4:30 p.m. to kick off the team’s first ever trip to the state Class B baseball tournament against the Beulah Miners.
By: By Michael Savaloja The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
After what seemed like a month, the day the Carrington Cardinal baseball team has been waiting for has finally arrived.
The Cardinals take to the diamond at Jack Brown Stadium today at 4:30 p.m. to kick off the team’s first ever trip to the state Class B baseball tournament against the Beulah Miners.
“The way we played at the region tournament, we didn’t really want any time off,” Carrington coach Wayne Shipman said. “The nerves will start to get to you a little and you have to work through them that first inning. Don’t let them get the best of you.”
Carrington (18-3) earned its way to state by defeating the Sheyenne-New Rockford Black Sox for the fourth time this season in the Region 3 title game 13-3 in New Rockford last Wednesday. The week off gave the team time to prepare, and it also gave it a little time to size up the Miners (24-5).
“I know they are a decent hitting team, with good pitchers and they field well,” Shipman said. “We’re a lot alike, from what others have told me.”
In all likelihood, the Cardinals will be facing Beulah’s ace this afternoon. That man is junior starting pitcher Trevor Zacher, who has rung up a record of 5-0 this season while compiling an ERA of less than two runs at 1.52.
Zacher, who has 26 strikeouts and has allowed just 10 walks this season, stands at 6-foot-5 and was named the state Class B boys basketball tournament MVP as the Miners rolled to their first state basketball championship over the North Star Bearcats 51-49 in Grand Forks this past winter.
Beulah is the champion of Region 6.
“We know he’s a great athlete. We played football against him and he did a very good job at quarterback, and we watched him play basketball,” Shipman said of Zacher. “He probably throws hard. He’s got a good arm.
“We told our guys to be aggressive in the box and don’t get behind in the count. If you see a ball you like, hit it.”
For Carrington, senior Scott Engelhorn will toe the rubber from the mound this afternoon. Engelhorn has a record of 4-1 in six games this season. He’s posted an ERA of 1.45 and has fanned a team-best 36 batters while allowing 14 walks.
Engelhorn has allowed just 8 earned runs.
“He’s got a good fastball, he throws a curve and he’s been working on a changeup. He’ll throw that during warm-ups to decide whether or not he’s going to use it,” Shipman said of Engelhorn. “The thing with his changeup is to just have the confidence to throw it. Trusting it, I guess.”
Beulah can certainly swing the bat. The team is led in hitting by juniors Patrick Becker (.491 average) and Brett Koch (.490). Becker has 6 doubles and 23 RBIs, while Koch has a pair of triples, a homer and 16 RBIs.
The Miners are led in RBIs by junior Cody Nelson with 24. He also has a pair of home runs and is bringing a .367 batting average to the state tournament.
Trying to keep the Miners’ bats quiet while building an early lead will be key for the Cards.
“Whether we bat first or are in the field first, getting out of that first inning will be big,” Shipman said. “If we’re in the field first we need to shut them down and if we are batting we’d like to get a run or two to get ahead.
“If we do get ahead we seem to do all right. Confidence feeds (the team).”
Carrington senior Peter Henson has had a solid season — both on the mound and at the plate — and the Cards will be looking for a big tournament from him. Henson is also 5-0 in seven starts this year, with an ERA of 2.12 and 26 strikeouts.
Henson is also leading the team with a .463 batting average, with 10 doubles, two triples, a homer and 21 RBIs. Juniors Taylor Skytland (.443) and Austin Hewitt (.412) are also both over the .400 mark in the batter’s box this season.
Both have 19 RBIs, while Skytland and Engelhorn each have a team-best nine stolen bases. Junior Tysen Rosenau leads the team in homers (2) and RBIs (22).
“It’s been pretty crazy,” Shipman said of the atmosphere in Carrington. “People are pretty excited, and I’m going to guess there will be a lot of people down there (in Jamestown). The parents and fans seem to be just as eager to go watch as we are to go play.”
The Cardinals and the Miners are even more alike than what their scouting reports show. Beulah is also making its state Class B baseball tournament debut this afternoon.
“I told (the team) no matter what happens when we go down there, the most important thing is to go out and enjoy it and have fun while you’re playing,” Shipman said. “You never know when the next time is going to be.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com