Polarizing approaches setup the sweltering final game of the 2019 American Legion baseball Phil Brown Classic between Jamestown Post 14 and Carrington Post 25 on Sunday, July 14.
Jamestown needed to run out some younger arms to prepare for the upcoming postseason, and Carrington needed to cleanse its mouth of an 0-3 start to the tournament. Both objectives were completed in near 90-degree heat at Jack Brown Stadium.
Post 14 rolled out five pitchers younger than high school juniors, and Valley City State University baseball commit Kyle Leapaldt cracked a pair of home runs and drove in six RBIs to help Carrington cap the tourney with an 18-3 victory in five innings.
"It felt good after the last three games," said Leapaldt, who was the losing pitcher in a 5-4, eight-inning loss to Jamestown to open the tournament Saturday. "I was just trying to go right field, and it just so happened they went over."
Both Leapaldt's long balls originated from the right-handed batter's box and disappeared the opposite way over the ivy in right. The 2019 Carrington graduate hit a two-run shot in the second inning off freshman-to-be Kasen Rowell, and he later put the game on ice with a grand slam off a second Jamestown freshman, Preston Kroeber, in the fourth.
"Yesterday he smashed the ball four times and the first time he hit one (opposite way), I go, 'Geez, it's about time,'" Carrington coach Tim Ranum smiled. "Because, honestly, it's just an adjustment of letting (the ball) get a little deeper, but he's got some unbelievable ability with the bat and he's just a really terrific all-around player."
Carrington fell 11-5 to the Aberdeen Post 24 Smittys on Saturday, a game that was shortened to five innings due to rain, and fell a second time, 5-4 in eight innings, to Aberdeen on Sunday. Post 25 is undefeated at 11-0 in Class B District 4 play, however, and will host the district tournament beginning July 23 in Carrington.
"Bottom line we came here to get some at-bats and play some different teams," Ranum said. "We saw a lot of good things. We didn't necessarily have the team result we were looking for, but you individually saw some nice things."
Post 14 received valuable work on the mound on day 2 of the Classic, getting a good look at lefty Rowell for just the second time this summer. Rowell, returning from a wrist injury, tossed 47 pitches over a pair of innings after playing in Jamestown's season opener on June 6.
"Now that he's healthy we're going to get him in, especially because he's a lefty," Post 14 coach Sam Joseph said of Rowell. "He has very good offspeed stuff and we wanted him to get some innings in just to see if we could play matchup later on down the road."
Pitchers Michael Mahoney, Gage Orr and Ethan McKenney all toed the rubber for Jamestown against Carrington.
"Our younger guys aren't able to get many games in and we need them," Joseph said. "So we have to get some work in, and a few of them are going to throw for us on Tuesday and Wednesday."
Post 14 (12-9 overall) is leading the Class A West Division at 9-1 and is in the home stretch. Jamestown travels to face the third-place Bismarck Capitals (7-3 West) on Tuesday and the second-place Minot Metros (10-2) on Wednesday, before the West Division tournament fires up July 23 in Minot.
"We gotta take care of business, get into our weekend off and get rested up before we head (back) to Minot," Joseph said. "Hopefully we handle business there and get to state."
Jamestown 5, Aberdeen 2
Post 14 scored three runs in the first inning during Sunday's matchup vs. the Smittys, accounting for all the runs it would need to win the game. Tommy Falk plated the first run with a sacrifice fly to right field with runners at the corners. Isaac Mimong later produced a run-scoring double and Chris Erickson was able to cross the plate on an Abreeden error.
The Smittys recorded four errors in the contest. Falk was the game's winning pitcher, allowing just one run on four hits with a pair of strikeouts through four innings.
Post 14's scheduled game against Aberdeen on Saturday was canceled due to wet field conditions.
Jamestown 5, Carrington 4
Kohl Kratz scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning, helping Post 14 edge Carrington 5-4 on Saturday.
Kratz's lead-off single in extras came off the first pitch tossed in the frame by Carrington starter Leapaldt. Leapaldt did all he could to help win the contest, throwing 7 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks, while also accounting for three of Carrington's four hits offensively.
"That kid over there, he's good," Joseph said of Leapaldt. "To put nine hits up on him, that's pretty good against a good pitcher like that."
Kratz swiped second with Jamestown's Mimong at the plate and later moved 90 feet away to third when Mimong grounded out to short. Kratz touched home on Carrington's fourth defensive error of the afternoon, this one charged to Leapaldt on a ball put into play by Post 14's Connor Hoyt.
Hoyt, who picked up the victory on the mound, walked the lead-off man in the bottom of the eighth but was able to set down Carrington 1-2-3 thereafter. Hoyt pitched the final three innings, taking over for starter Kratz, and allowed no runs on two hits, a walk and three strikeouts.
Kratz gave up just two hits through five, but seven walks issued kept Post 25 on the bases throughout the afternoon. Carrington led 2-1 after one inning, and 4-3 through six before a Falk RBI single tied the game for Post 14 at 4-4 in the top of the seventh.
Erickson produced a double and a pair of RBIs for Jamestown. Falk finished 2-for-4.
"The boys wanted it," Joseph said. "They were going up a very good pitcher with Leapaldt, so they just wanted to make sure they came out and hit and that's what they did. They came out and had great at-bats and they all had great approaches."
Phil Brown Classic
Carrington 18, Jamestown 3 (5 inn.)
C 324 81 -- 18 14 0
J 101 10 --- 3 5 2
Lucas Geiszler and Kyle Leapaldt. Micahel Mahoney, Kasen Rowell (2), Preston Kroeber (4), Gage Orr (4), Ethan McKenney (5) and Isaac Mimong, Kroeber (5). W--Geiszler. L--Mahoney.
Post 14 highlights: Max Anderson 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Maclane Letherman 1-1, 3B, RBI.
Post 25 highlights: Leapaldt 2-2, 2 HR, BB, 6 RBI, 3 R; Payton Smith 1-4, 2B, BB, 3 RBI, 2 R; Drew Page 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI 2; Renn 1-3, 2 RBI, 3 R; Brandon Larson 3-3, 2 R; Lee 2-3, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R.
Jamestown 5, Aberdeen 2 (5 inn.)
A 100 01 -- 2 4 4
J 302 0X -- 5 3 2
Tanner Merkel and Drew Geier. Tommy Falk, Gage Orr (5) and Isaac Mimong, Preston Kroeber (5). W--Falk. L--Merkel.
Post 14 highlights: Falk 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 SO, 0 BB; Orr 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 2 BB; Mimong 1-1, 2B, BB, RBI, R; Chris Erickson 1-2, R; Jeremy Williams 1-2.
Post 24 highlights: Merkel 4 IP, 2 ER, 3 SO, 1 BB; Cole Sippel 1-3; Hunter Ringenberg 1-2, RBI.
Jamestown 5, Carrington 4
J 111 000 11 -- 5 9 1
C 200 200 00 -- 4 4 4
Kyle Leapaldt, Payton Smith (8) and Ethan Buskness. Kohl Kratz, Connor Hoyt (6) and Tommy Falk. W--Hoyt. L--Leapaldt.
Post 14 highlights: Kratz 5 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 SO, 7 BB, 2-3, R; Hoyt 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 SO, 1 BB, 1-2, 2 RBI; Dawson Douty 1-3, 3B, R; Chris Erickson 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R; Tommy Falk 2-4, RBI; Ethan McKenney 1-3, 2B; Jeremy Williams 1-3.
Post 25 highlights: Leapaldt 7.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 7 SO, 0 BB, 3-4, 2B, RBI, R; Larson 1-3, R.