LLM baseball players wrap up a 'heck of a year' as all-staters
Four members of the LaMoure/Litchville-Marion baseball team earned all-state honors following the 2022 prep baseball season.
There's something magical when you combine small towns and high school athletics.
Landon Piehl and a good portion of the LaMoure/Litchville-Marion baseball team got a good dose of that magic this season.
"Twenty years from now, I probably won’t remember the outcomes of the games, just the guys I was with day in and day out and the memories that we made," Piehl, a senior for the LLM baseball team, said. "I’ve known most of these guys since T-ball (when) we’d all go to legion games and play games outside the ballpark."
Piehl along with teammates Corban Potts, Tate Mart and Anthony Hanson were all named to the Class B all-state baseball team following the 2022 Class B State Baseball Tournament. Piehl, Potts and Mart received first-team honors while Hanson garnered a second-team plaque.
Potts was also named Player of the Year for Region 3. Piehl, Mart and Hanson were also named all-state in 2021.
The Loboes went just about as far as they could go this spring, once again making it to the Class B championship game. LaMoure/LM dropped 11-7 to Thompson in the title tilt and while they would have prefered to end the year as state champs, the foursome all agreed its been a record-busting, new-standard setting type year for the Loboes.
"We had one heck of a year in all the sports," Potts said. "A lot of hard work went into this year and I'm proud of the way everything played out."
It all started in the fall when Potts led the LLM football team to its first Class A 9-man football title since 1991. Potts, the quarterback for the squad, helped LLM go 12-0 on the season which ended with a dominant 42-14 win over Cavalier in the Dakota Bowl 9-man finals. The Loboes pitched eight shutouts and had minimum margin of victory of at least 14 points across the 12 games.
Then the boys' attention turned to basketball.
Potts and Piehl went on to start for the LLM boys basketball team which made its first appearance at the Class B State Basketball Tournament since 2015.
LLM started out their year with a 3-0 record before dropping 70-49 to Enderlin on Jan. 11. The Loboes suffered another tough one in late January, when Ellendale topped them 42-40.
After just missing the Cardinals, the Loboes put together an impressive 18-1 run which was capped off with a dominant win over Ellendale in the Region 3 Tournament championship game.
LLM would go on to end up placing third at the state tournament, topping fourth-seeded Bishop Ryan 45-38 in the third-place game.
It took a solid month after the basketball season was complete for the winter weather to subside and the boys could take to the baseball fields, but if they were rusty from spending weeks in the gym throwing grounders — it didn't show.
"I’ve been playing baseball since I could hold a bat and throw a ball," Potts said. "I’ve been to a state tournament every single year I've been playing, since Babe Ruth, I’ve known a lot of these guys since preschool. I played T-ball with almost all of them and played with them ever since."
Potts only played five games for Haugen in the spring of 2021 before he made the difficult decision to end his season early due to some back issues but he was back and firing on all cylinders this spring.
"Corban playing this year made us a much better team than last year," Piehl said. "He has the ability to make winning plays in the batters box and in the field, so having him made us so much more dangerous."
Potts went .491 at the plate and held a slugging percentage of .755. The senior collected 26 RBIs and struck out just five times. Out on the mound, Potts threw for 13.1 innings and retired 23. By the end of the season, his ERA read 4.2.
Piehl threw for 28 innings and racked up a whopping total of 35 Ks. He allowed just six hits and one run. He walked 11 batters. Up at the plate Piehl was batting .320, scoring 10 runs.
Hanson and Mart were also above the .300 mark, notching averages of .346 and .373.
"It felt good to come back and make a run at State," Potts said. "We had nine or 10 guys who could hit the ball and field the ball really well. I'm just going to remember playing ball with my friends for one of the last times."
The consistent hitting helped the Loboes to a 13-1 record, earning them the No. 1 seed entering the state tournament. LaMoure made quick work of Surrey in the state quarterfinals, topping them 11-1.
Hanson got the win, working four innings and allowing a run on three hits. He didn't issue a walk and struck out seven.
Potts had two hits and drove in three runs and Mart singled twice and scored three runs.
The first-round win on June 2 pushed the Loboes through to the semifinals where they faced 2021 state champs, Langdon Area/Edmore-Munich.
Piehl ended up throwing a complete seven-inning game for the win over the Cardinals striking out nine and giving up only two hits. Piehl allowed only one walk over 93 pitches. The Loboes won it 3-0.
"We were dominant because of the trust we had in each other. Each one of us knew that the other eight guys on the field would be able to contribute," Piehl said. "I’ve been playing baseball since I was five. What draws me in is how fun it is to play and be with my teammates every day. Making All-State is huge to me because it means that my talent hasn’t gone unnoticed."
Piehl was named to the All-State baseball team as a junior as well. The recent LLM grad is planning to attend Valley City State University in the fall where he will suit up for head coach Casey Olney and the Vikings' baseball team.
Potts said he is planning on entering the workforce while Hanson and Mart will be back for one final year with the Loboes.
"Being a Loboe meant so much to me because of the community that had our backs every time we took the field or the court," Piehl said. "LaMoure has the best and most supportive community in North Dakota."
2022 Class B Baseball All-State Team
Corban Potts, LaMoure/LM
Tate Mart, LaMoure/LM
Landon Piehl, LaMoure/LM
Brendan Maasjo, Central Cass
Jack Metzger, Northern Cass
Nick Thompson, Kindred/Richland
Kyle Odenbach, Thompson
Cole Hebl, Hillsboro/CV
Landon Koenig, May-Port-C-G
Carter Tetrault, Langdon/EM
Jack Romfo, Langdon/EM
Dane Hagler, North Star
Kekoa Munos, Surrey
Colin Dean, Velva/Drake-Anamoose
Coltan Francis, Surrey
Carson Yale, Des Lacs-Burlington
Joe Savelkoul, Renville County
Trapper Skalsky, Beulah
Michael Fagerland, Shiloh Christian
Trace King, Shiloh Christian
Anthony Hanson, LaMoure/LM
Ethan Muchow, Central Cass
Alex Everson, Central Cass
Austin Rygg, Hatton/Northwood
Tyler Cunningham, Thompson
Brady Omdahl, Park River Area
Tony Villarreal, Grafton
Brody Schneibel, Rugby
Gannon Hall, Renville County
Paxton Ystaas, Des Lacs-Burlington
Tyson Wick, Hazen
Eli Thompson, Shiloh Christian
NDHSCA POWERade Outstanding Senior Athlete: Trapper Skalsky, Beulah
NDHSCA SUBWAY Coach of the Year: Derold Haugen, LaMoure/LM