Little things can be as big as big sticks in a state baseball tournament.
Friday’s state Class A high school baseball semifinal between powerful West Fargo Sheyenne and Bismarck Legacy was a great example.
Sheyenne took advantage of a bat bag full of mistakes by Legacy to post a 4-2 win and set up a championship game rematch today against Fargo Shanley at Mandan Memorial Ballpark. The game will be a rematch of the East Region championship game won by Fargo Shanley 2-1.
Sheyenne earned the school’s second berth in the state title game against the Fargo Shanley Deacons, and first since the title-winning 2013 season. Shanley has won all three games between the two teams this season.
“We always expect games like that,” Sheyenne coach Ryan Bodell said. “I know pitching and defense are always going to be there. We knew it was going to be a close game. Good teams take advantage of things.”
Sheyenne pitcher Brennan Haman left his mark all over the game. He went the distance, allowed three hits, struck out five, drove in the winning run in the seventh and made the final putout of the game at first base. He retired the last eight batters of the game.
“I just knew I had to stay hydrated, and if I did I probably had it in me,” Haman said of a day in which the temperature in Mandan reached a sizzling 106 degrees.
Bodell knew Haman had it in him.
“Casey Clemenson (Thursday’s winner) and Haman have been our 1-2 all year," he said. "I know they’re going to come in and throw strikes. He expects to go the distance every start.”
Legacy did all it could to help the Haman, like:
- An error in the outfield on the first batter of a game that led to a run.
- Ben Patton and Isaac Pegors walking 12 batters and each committing a balk, with Pattons’ plating a run.
- A strikeout in which the batter reached keeping alive an inning in which a run later scored.
- A hit batter eventually scoring what turned out to be the winning run.
- An interference call on a rundown between first and second.
- Allowing five stolen bases.
All those little things turned big when the Sabers’ bats went to sleep.
“When you do that against a team like that you’re just not going to get away with it. It bit us, but that’s baseball in a nutshell,” Legacy coach Eddie Streeter said.
Quade Peters led off the game with an opposite-field single to right. The ball went under the glove of right-fielder Carter Klipfel and Peters went to second. Alex Urlaub singled Peters to third and Cooper Borchardt lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Peters.
Legacy tied the game in the third when Klipfel walked, went to second on a sac bunt and scored on Patton’s single to left.
The Mustangs came right back a half inning later to take the lead without the benefit of a hit. Menz drew one of Patton’s eight walks and stole a base. Two walks and a runner reaching on a strikeout and wild pitch loaded the bases. With two outs, Patton was called for a balk and Menz trotted home for a 2-1 lead.
Legacy tied it in the fifth on Patton’s double before a series of walks, the interference and hit batter and another sac fly ended its chances of reaching its first state title game. The Sabers play Dickinson for third place today.
Ben Patton and Miles Stiefel. Brennan; Haman and Grant Warkentien. W - Haman. L - Pegor. HR: None.
Highlights: Sheyenne - Brennan Haman 7 IP, 3 hits, 5 K, 1 RBI. Legacy - Ben Patton 2-3, double, 1 RBI.
Records: Sheyenne 25-7, Legacy 22-10.