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Senators come up just short in bid to keep season going

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Entering Monday's game in Watford City against the Fargo Post 2 Jets, the Bismarck Senators had been 4-0 in elimination games this postseason.

The Senators nearly made it 5-for-5, but the Post 2 Jets rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning and a 4-2 victory at the state Class A American Legion baseball tournament.

"It was pretty impressive to go 4-1 in elimination games," Senators manager Troy Olson. "The same thing happened in the West Region tournament. We lost our first game, but the kids just kept battling. They weren't really phased by anything."

Down 1-0, Bismarck scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take the lead. A couple of defensive miscues aided the Post 2 Jets' comeback in the top of the seventh, sending the Fargo squad to Tuesday's championship round. The Post 2 Jets will have to beat Casselton twice today to claim the crown. The first game got moved up to 10 a.m. due to the expected heat.

The Senators stranded runners in scoring position in the first, third and fourth innings on Monday.

"We kind of missed a few scoring opportunities earlier in the game that could've made a difference," Olson said. "We had guys on base, we just couldn't get the clutch like we had earlier in the weekend."

Zac Brackin fired six strong innings on the mound. The right-hander, who attends Century, allowed two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts. He had to be pulled when he hit the pitch-count limit.

"He had command today and was able to keep them off balance," Olson said of Brackin. "His strike-to-ball ratio needed to be a little lower to get the complete game, but he gave us a great effort and a chance to win."

Brackin also helped his cause at the plate, going 2-for-3, including a double. He led off the top of the sixth with a single and later scored the go-ahead run on a two-out single by Traiden Kalfell. It was Kalfell who threw a one-hitter on the mound Sunday as the Senators defeated host Watford City, 11-1.

Leadoff batter Brooks Turner had a big day at the plate for the Senators, going 4-for-4 with a stolen base. 

Down 1-0, the Senators tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Kleinjan, who led off the inning with a single, scored on a sac-fly by Nick Patton. Kleinjan went 2-for-3 as the Senators outhit the Post 2 Jets, 9-7.

The Senators finished the season with a record of 22-12.

"You get to the end of the summer and a lot of these kids have been playing baseball since March," Olson said. "It's been a lot of fun to coach these guys because of how hard they compete. I think the future looks pretty good for this group."

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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