On to the next: Midgets handle Fargo North in opening round of state tournament
MANDAN — Dickinson junior starter Luke Herauf admitted he left a couple pitches in bad spots during the first inning.
However, over the next six innings, Herauf handled the Spartans en route to a 10-3 win during the North Dakota Class A state baseball tournament on Thursday at Veteran’s Memorial Ballpark.
“We kind of made some crappy plays, I put the ball where I shouldn’t have and they hit it,” said Herauf, who pitched seven innings and struck out 11. “They got a couple runs, but we got right back on them.
“I kind of got the jitters out and then everything started going our way.”
Herauf benefitted from patience and power at the plate. The Midgets posted 10 runs on eight hits, nine walks, three Fargo North errors and two hit by pitches.
After the first inning, Fargo North held at 3-1 lead but its lead didn’t last very long. Dickinson scored eight runs — including a four-run second inning — during the next four frames.
“These guys have been working hard all year and they know what they are capable of hitting and what balls they can hit but not hit as well,” Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz said. “They did a good job of looking for that one pitch and they are very good at hitting it.”
Dickinson senior designated hitter Tanner Hopfauf provided the power with a solo home run in the fifth. It was Hopfauf’s first home run of the season. Hopfauf finished 2 for 2 with a RBI and two runs scored.
“We are a good hitting team and if we keep putting the ball in play, stuff is going to happen for us,” said Hopfauf, who entered the game with a .409 batting average. “We are going to keep hitting the ball hard and hope it falls.
“We are OK with struggling the first time around the batting order. The second or third time around out batting order we really try to hit the ball hard.”
Michael McChesney, Dickinson’s sophomore second baseman, went 3 for 4 with a game-high three RBI. The Midgets’ leadoff hitter — senior Dylan Skabo — scored the opening run of the game after hitting a triple to deep center. Skabo came around to score on the same play on an error. Joe Mayer and Mark Erickson each had a hit and scored two runs.
Fargo North received a RBI double from Seth Amundson during the first inning. Seth Brennenman followed with a RBI groundout. Carter Thompson went 2 for 4 with a run scored.
“We struggled period,” Fargo North head coach Jim Fiechtner said. “(Herauf) gave us two hits. That’s all. We gave them eight hits, nine walks, three errors and two hit batters. That’s a big difference right there. Good teams should always beat the bad teams when that happens. That’s what happened today.”
The Midgets move on to play Bismarck High in the semifinals of the state tournament at 3:30 p.m. today. Hopfauf and Herauf said it’s going to be business as usual.
“We say it every day, ‘It is a business trip,’” he said. “We want to come down here, win a ball a ball game and go home. That’s all. We are here for one reason — win a state title.”
Herauf added: “Whoever we play. We want to put them down and get to the ship.”
Midgets 141 030 1 — 10 8 2
Spartans 300 000 0 — 3 3 4
Midgets Luke Herauf and Mark Erickson. Spartans Tyler Anderson, Bryce Schroeder (3), Coghlan Fisher (5) and Steve Rider.
W–Herauf. L–Anderson. HR–Tanner Hopfauf.
Highlights: Midgets, Hopfauf 2 for 2, HR, 2 runs, RBI, SB, 2 BB; Michael McChesney 3 for 4, 3 RBI, 2B, BB; Erickson 1 for 3, 2 runs, BB; Alex Bast 2 runs, 2 BB; Dylan Skabo 1 for 4, run, 3B, HBP; Joe Mayer 1 for 3, 2 runs, RBI, 2B. Spartans, Carter Thompson 2 for 4, run; Seth Amundson 1 for 3, run, RBI; Ian Schultz run, BB; Seth Brennenman RBI.