All LaMoure: Thielges, Stemen lead Merchants to ‘A’ amateur title
Brady Thielges was quite a Plan B on the mound for the LaMoure Merchants.
After giving up a run in the top of first inning, Thielges put up six zeroes after that as LaMoure beat Fairview 5-1 to win the Class A title.
“I was just happy to get one more time to pitch this baseball season because my last time out in the (American) Legion season didn’t go very well,” Thielges said of his last outing for LaMoure Post 19 at the state Legion tournament in Langdon. “When (Aaron) told me I was going to get to throw I was pretty happy about that.”
After Trenton Hove walked to open the game and then stole second base, Brett Schweitzer lined a single into left field to give Fairview an early 1-0 lead.
But after the shaky start, Thielges settled in big time, allowing just two more hits the rest of the game.
“It was a lot of fun to play here this weekend. Obviously, it’s fun when you have success and a lot of us, even the old guys, have played together a lot,” Thielges said, smiling in reference to the “old” guys. “This is definitely something we want to keep doing in the future.”
LaMoure advanced to the championship game primarily due to Aaron Stemen’s right arm. The tall, hard-thrower allowed just one run in 10 innings combined between his three-inning stint on Friday night and then a complete-game gem to beat the Kensal Mallards on Saturday.
LaMoure had played just five games all summer before the state tournament, but Stemen coaches Babe Ruth and Legion baseball in the summer, so he was conditioned for the busy weekend.
“The coaching helps. That keeps me in pretty good shape to where I felt good both days,” Stemen said.
On Sunday, it was Stemen’s bat that delivered the decisive blow in the game.
After Brady Thielges walked to open the bottom of the first, Brett Hample reached on an error and Jared Meiklejohn walked to load the bases for Stemen, the clean-up hitter.
On the first pitch he saw, Stemen ripped a bases-clearing double deep into left-center field that one-hopped the fence.
It was part of an impressive all-around showing for Stemen, who was once recruited by Jamestown College in baseball, but chose his first love — basketball — and played a couple seasons with the Jimmies.
“I just liked basketball a little more,” he said. “But this was fun, definitely. We’d like to play more in the summer, but it’s tough to line up games. Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to do that.”
Incidentally, Stemen will resume his basketball career this coming year at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ve played in a few open gyms. Hopefully everything works out.”
After a rough first inning, Fairview pitcher Seth Falcon found a better groove and allowed just one run over the last five innings.
Stemen (2-for-4) and Travis Jones (2-for-2) had the only hits for LaMoure. Jones’s second hit landed on the warning track in deep left field for a double.
It was the third year in a row LaMoure has played in the Class A tournament, but this was their first title. The Merchants outscored their three opponents 20-2 and with the pipeline continuing to produce good high school and Legion players, things are in place for sustained amateur success, probably a level up.
“Yeah, I think that’s something we’d like to do next year,” Stemen said of potentially moving up. “This was a lot of fun and hopefully next year we’ll be back and see what we can do against (AA) teams.”
N.D. amateur baseball
Class A state tournament
At Jack Brown Stadium
LaMoure 5, Fairview 1
Fairview 100 000 0 — 1 3 4
LaMoure 401 000 x — 5 4 2
Seth Falcon and Lane Huck. Brady Thielges and Tyler Thielges. W—B.Thielges. L—Falcon.
Highlights: Fairview, Trenton Hove 0-3, Run, SB; Brett Schweitzer 1-3, RBI; Lane Huck 1-3; Ty Berg 1-2 BB; Seth Falcon 6 IP, 5 R (3 ER), 4 H, 5 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP. LaMoure, Brady Thielges 0-2 2 BB, R, BB, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 Ks; Brett Hample 0-4 R; Jared Meiklejohn 0-2, 2 BB, R; Aaron Stemen 2-4, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI; Tyler Thielges 0-2 2 BB; Adam Wieland 0-2, BB; Travis Jones 2-2, 2B, HBP.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com