Thompson claims N.D. state Class B Legion baseball title
STEELE, N.D.-It took two championship games and four extra innings, but Thompson claimed the North Dakota Class B American Legion baseball state championship here Sunday.Thompson was the lone unbeaten left in the tournament entering Sunday's fina...
STEELE, N.D.-It took two championship games and four extra innings, but Thompson claimed the North Dakota Class B American Legion baseball state championship here Sunday.
Thompson was the lone unbeaten left in the tournament entering Sunday's final day. Nelson County came through the loser-out round to beat Thompson 4-2 in the first championship game. In the second title game, Thompson won 6-5 in 11 innings to capture the program's first Legion state title since 2002.
Thompson won with only two players, Calen Schwabe and Hunter Ness, in their final season of eligibility.
"We're young on paper,'' Thompson coach Brady Schwab said. "But most of these guys have started for several years. They've played in a lot of Babe Ruth, high school and Legion championship games. They've been through this before.''
Ness scored the game winner in the bottom of the 11th. He was hit by a pitch leading off the inning. A Tyler Hegg single sent Ness to third. After Hayden Overby was intentionally walked, pinch hitter Josh Sem sent a sacrifice fly to center field to drive home Ness.
Thompson had jumped to a 4-3 lead after two innings. The score stayed that way until Nelson County scored once in the top of the seventh to pull even at 4-4 and once in the eighth to take a 5-4 lead.
Thompson tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when, with two out and a 1-2 count, Calen Schwabe singled to right-center to drive home Cadyn Schwabe.
Trey Larimer came on in relief in the second inning and pitched into the seventh. Calen Schwabe, making his first pitching appearance of the season, came on to finish the seventh and close the game for the win.
"Calen's had arm issues,'' Schwab said. "He probably would have been one of the top pitchers in the state if not for that. We were out of arms and he'd been cleared by doctors to throw.
"He and Trey both threw well. Trey went 5 2/3 innings. That was huge, keeping us in the game.''
Nelson County rallied in the first title game for the win. Thompson built a 2-0 lead with single runs in the third and fourth innings. But Nelson County took the lead with three in the fifth and Sean Perry pitched a complete game for the win.
"We were two pretty even teams,'' Nelson County coach Brent Luehring said. "We beat them two times this year; they beat us two times. We're very happy with our season. We can't complain.''