Beulah conquers Grafton to win state titleJAMESTOWN — Dalton Oliger’s not sure what happened, but he chose to swing away instead of executing the suicide squeeze called by Beulah coach Bob Koch.
By: Chris Aarhus, The Dickinson Press
JAMESTOWN — Dalton Oliger’s not sure what happened, but he chose to swing away instead of executing the suicide squeeze called by Beulah coach Bob Koch.
“It was a miscommunication on our part,” said the senior catcher. “I thought I’d just put a bat on it and find a hole.”
He did exactly that, singling through the hole, and Cam Sadowsky followed with the squeeze to score Casey Duppong as the Miners won the Class B state baseball championship with a 5-3 eight-inning win over Grafton on Saturday at Jack Brown Stadium.
The win marked another championship for Beulah, which topped North Star to win its first state boys basketball title this March in Grand Forks. The Miners last won a prep baseball title in 1956.
“It’s awesome, to win two championships in one year,” said junior Trevor Zacher, who coaxed a double play to close out the game after scoring the winning run. “Everyone can enjoy it; it’s fun for everyone.”
What’s glorious for one team is largely the opposite for the other, as Grafton lost the championship game for the second consecutive year. The Spoilers haven’t been able to close the deal in six consecutive trips to state.
“(It’s) terrible,” Grafton coach Chad Kliniske said. “There isn’t a single kid in this dugout that couldn’t come live with me. They deserved a little better fate.”
Grafton certainly had its chance, after Joe Demers drilled a two-run homer over the right-field fence to put the Spoilers up 3-2 in the sixth inning. The shot was their first hit of the game off Beulah starter Cody Nelson.
With reliever Zach Suda retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, it looked like Grafton was about to end the drought until Beulah’s Brett Koch drew a walk and teammate Karson Hintz crushed a run-scoring double to the left-field fence. The big hit tied up the game, eventually sending it into extra innings.
“It’s good to have a guy like Karson; he crushed it,” Koch said.
The win improved Zacher to 7-0 on the hill, as he and Nelson combined on a three-hitter. Koch said Nelson was a hidden commodity as he wasn’t used in the region tournament.
“He’s one of our top three,” Koch said. “I still don’t know who our ace is.”
Suda suffered the loss for Grafton, taking over for starter Jaime Villarreal in the sixth inning.
“It’s tough to take for these guys,” Kliniske said. “There have been a lot of second-place finishes.”
Beulah 020 000 12 — 5 8 3
Grafton 100 002 00 — 3 2 4
Cody Nelson, Trevor Zacher (7) and Dalton Oliger. Jaime Villarreal, Zach Suda (6) and Alex Martinson. W–Zacher (7-0). L–Suda. HR–G, Joe Demers.
Highlights: B, Nelson 2-for-4, RBI, Oliger 2-for-4, RBI. G, Demers 1-for-2, 2 RBIs, run.
Aarhus is a sports reporter for
The Jamestown Sun, which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.