Second Season Success
Travis Jones started his amateur baseball team, the Cass County Catfish, with the best of intentions.
Turns out the secondary benefits are pretty good too.
In just their second year as a team, Jones and the Catfish defeated the Jamestown Greyhounds 7-5 late Sunday night in the Class AA state amateur baseball tournament championship game at Jack Brown Stadium.
"Last year we started the team because I missed playing baseball with my friends," the 25-year-old Edgeley, N.D., native said. "To be able to get nine guys together for a game and come out and have fun, it doesn't get much better than that."
The Catfish got a banner pitching performance in the championship game from Justin Wennerberg of Foley, Minn. Wennerberg and Jones became friends at NDSU.
Wennerberg threw the kitchen sink at the heavy-hitting hounds, using a fastball, curveball, slider, changeup and even a knuckleball.
"The Hounds are a really good hitting team. They had what, 30 hits the game before," Wennerberg said of the Jamestown team's 24-hit barrage in the semifinals against Valley City. "We didn't have a very good team in high school. To win state in amateur (baseball) feels awesome. It's such a fun group of guys to play with."
The Catfish lost to the Hounds in the championship game last year, but a couple key additions from a neighboring town helped seal the deal this time.
"Anytime you can add guys like (Jared) Meiklejohn and (Aaron) Stemen, those are two really good players," Jones said of the former LaMoure standouts. "I was on the bad end of a lot of Section 2 games against them in Legion ball."
Meiklejohn and Jones had two hits each for the Catfish. Jones provided some insurance with an RBI-single in the top of the seventh to make it 7-5.
"You knew they'd come back and make a run at it," Jones said of the Hounds. "They got a really nice team."
Wennerberg held the Hounds to six hits. Nate Soulis had the loudest of the bunch—a solo blast that cleared the the deepest part of Jack Brown Stadium (left-center field).
Making Soulis' solo shot even more impressive was the fact that it came about 15 hours after he first arrived at the yard.
Grounds crew wizard Tom Gould started working on the soggy stadium's infield around 6 a.m. and was joined by Soulis, Paul Hanson, Danny Fischer and Jim Klemann not long after. Six hours of muddy manual labor later and the crew had the field ready to play shortly after noon. From there, the five-game marathon day was underway, ending with Catfish claiming the Class AA crown at about 10:45 p.m.
Cass County Catfish 7, Jamestown Greyhounds 5
CC 110 301 1 -- 7 8 4
J 000 023 0 -- 5 6 2
Justin Wennerberg and Jared Meiklejohn. Nolan Kratz, Jake Stilwell (2) and Riley Schafer. W--Wennerberg. L--Kratz. HR--Hounds, Nate Soulis.
Highlights: CC, Meiklejohn 2-4 2 RBI, 2B; Travis Jones 2-4 RBI; Alex Klever 2-4, RBI, R; Mitch Scheer 2-2 RBI; Wennerberg 7 IP, 5 R (1 ER), 8 H, 7 SO, 3 BB. J, Jake Stilwell 1-3 RBI; Nolan Kratz 1-4; Braxton Hewitt 1-3; Nate Soulis 2-4 HR, RBI, R; Ryan Sand 1-4 2 R, Tim Smith 0-2 R.