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Belfield-South Heart Knights clinch district championship undefeated

“We took last place in the regionals two year ago, but we knew that once we were older we were going to make it someday and that day is now," said Jordan Koppinger.

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Belfield-South Heart Knights posing with their 2022 District 5 championship plaque.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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BELFIELD, N.D. — Belfield-South Heart Knights were named champions of the Babe Ruth B District 5 tournament on Thursday after defeating Garrison Titans in a 4-2 ballgame. The fruits of the victory was even sweeter for the Knights lifting the trophy — this year being the first time the team has held the district tourney at home.

The final day of the competition was a battle between the remaining three teams. Fighting not just for the championship, but the sole spot available for participation in the state tournament would come down to focused execution.

The day began with the two remaining loser bracket teams in Garrison and Hazen Lumberkings going head-to-head. It would take extra innings and a walk-off to close a 15-14 pairing.

After losing to the Titans in 12-2 defeat earlier in the tourney, the Lumberkings fought their way through the loser’s bracket to meet Garrison again. Though the challenge for redemption was unsuccessful in their second match-up, it was not taken lightly by the Hazen squad who pushed for a comeback after facing an early nine-run deficit.

With the game tied Hazen would take a 14-13 lead at the top of the eighth, but it would not last long as the Titans re-established the lead in the bottom of the inning courtesy of a wild pitch to win the game and to move onto the championship.

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“We kind of coasted and that is when they caught up when we became a little lackadaisical,” Gage Gaher, Titans assistant coach, said. “They hit the ball around and at the bottom of the seventh we were tied up. Treyson Iglehart got hit by a pitch that tied the game for us [in the eighth]. We have been preaching all game that if it is going to hit you, take it like a man and wear it.”

Gaher gave proper recognition to the Hazen team and the determination that nearly saw them secure a late win.

The Lumberking's pitching rotation found trouble, allowing 16 hits. Brayden Haack pitched the last five and one-third innings, striking out four batters. Haack also went 2-for-4 at bat, hitting a double and an RBI and scoring four runs. Grady Holen had one hit and tallied four RBIs.

G. Crawford, Treyson Iglehart and I. Shervan led the Titans in hits with three each.

The championship game would pit two teams in another rematch, this time a repeat of the day before as Garrison and Belfield-South Heart — the north and south No.1 seeded teams — would square off in a dramatic and tightly contested finals.

Garrison took an early one-run lead in the second inning, but would be the last time they'd cross home plate.

Crucial base hits gave the Knights a two-run inning in the fourth that would become the decisive lead of the game. Belfield-South Heart took advantage of an error and scored an insurance-run in the sixth inning, ended the game with nine hits and four runs.

First baseman Jordan Koppinger’s encouraging spirit never faded, pushing his team — even after falling early.

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“It feels amazing [to be going to state]. We have been waiting for this for three years,” Koppinger said. “We took last place in the regionals two year ago, but we knew that once we were older we were going to make it someday and that day is now.”

Luke Obrigewitsch held the mound for all seven innings to claim the win. He retired four batters, giving up five hits and one walk — pitching 56 strikes of 79.

“I could have gone for more innings. I wasn't tired at all,” Obrigewitsch said. “It makes it feel even better to win it on our home field. It is just unbelievable.”

Left fielder M. Fitterer went 2-for-3 in the batter’s box, scoring two runs. N. Mehrer and J. Jung both tallied an RBI each to lead the Knights.

The state tournament will be held in Beulah from July 22 - 26. Despite taking fourth in the district tourney, Beulah’s team will automatically participate in state as one of district 5 teams.

“To me getting to state is the pressure. Once you're there you just go and have some fun,” Quentin Obrigewitsch, Knights head coach, said. “You know you are going to run into the top teams in the state. There is going to be very good competition there. We hope to compete well, but our expectations are to go there and have fun.”

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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