Kyle Leapaldt destroyed baseballs at Jack Brown Stadium back in July and Jamestown Greyhounds manager Danny Fischer took notice.
The Greyhounds put Leapaldt in Jamestown blue and orange for the North Dakota Class AA amateur baseball state tournament and the former Carrington all-stater stole the show. In a Greyhounds' uniform for a third time, Leapaldt went 2-for-2 with a double, a home run and three RBIs to lift Jamestown over the Enderlin Indies 4-3 in the AA championship game held Sunday, Aug. 11.
Leapaldt scored an equally impressive day at Jack Brown back on July 14. The Valley City State University baseball recruit clubbed a pair of homers and tallied six RBIs to help Carrington Post 25 upend Jamestown 18-3 in the American Legion baseball Phil Brown Classic.
"I was just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere," Leapaldt said, shortly after posing for pictures with the Hounds and the state AA hardware. "That's all I try to do normally. Just put it in play."
Leapaldt wasn't penciled into the starting lineup to face the Indies, but a leg issue hampering Jamestown's Jake Stilwell put the 2019 Carrington grad into the contest for Stilwell at second base, after Stillwell batted in the bottom of the first. Leapaldt tied the score at 2-2 with a bases-loaded, two-run double to center in the third, and then put the Hounds out front 3-2 with a solo shot to left-center in the fifth.
Enderlin jumped ahead 2-0 on four singles allowed by Jamestown starter Ben Pedigo in the top of the first. But Pedigo was largely solid thereafter, scattering seven hits all told -- all singles -- and allowing just one walk to seven strikeouts to earn the victory.
Jamestown's Justin Connell also went 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored but was all smiles about Leapaldt's performance after the game. Connell cracked a walk-off grand slam in a 4-1 tournament victory over the Valley City Saints -- the 2018 AA champion -- during pool play last Wednesday.
"We sat (Leapaldt) that first game on Wednesday and told him he was going to get his time," Connell said. "Danny said this is a guy that he's going to hit, and he came in and hit two balls hard."
Enderlin cleanup batter Zach Michaelson was a tough out, going 3-for-3 on the day. But Pedigo faced the minimum in the third, fourth and fifth frames after the wobbly first.
"It hurt a little bit. Obviously, championship game; big game," Michaelson said. "But, yeah, that guy threw well and threw strikes."
Most of Jamestown's damage was done facing Enderlin starter Jon Tyre, who allowed three runs on six hits and five walks through five innings. Kalton Agnes pitched the sixth, where Jamestown's Braxton Hewitt, another Carrington product, came through with a clutch RBI double to give the Hounds insurance at 4-2.
A lead-off walk allowed by Pedigo in the seventh came around to produce the final score, but Enderlin's Tanner Groth struck out with the bases empty to end the game.
"He hasn't quite been hitting his pitch lately," Connell said of Hewitt. "I talked to him and he said, 'Yeah, that was the one,' and he put a good stamp on it."
The state amateur baseball title was the Greyhounds' sixth in nine years. Jamestown collected a third Class AA title to go along with three state championships at the Class A level.
Jamestown 4, Enderlin 3
Enderlin 200 000 1 -- 3 7 1
Jamestown 002 011 X -- 4 8 1
Ben Pedigo and Braxton Hewitt. Jon Tyre, Kalton Agnes (6) and Zach Michaelson. W--Pedigo. L--Tyre.
Enderlin highlights: Tyre 5 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 4 SO, 3 R; Agnes 1 IP, 2 H, 1 SO, 1 R; Michaelson 3-3, 3 1B; Thomas Lindgren 2-3
Jamestown highlights: Pedigo 7 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 7 SO; Kyle Leapaldt 2-2, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, R; Justin Connell 2-2, 2B, BB, R; Braxton Hewitt 1-4, 2B, RBI; Danny Fischer 1-3, BB, R; Nate Soulis 1-3, R.