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Bismarck takes care of West Fargo to open Legion A tournament

Bismarck pitcher Matt Guenther threw a one-hitter and the Representatives' lineup backed him up with nine hits, leading to a 6-0 win against West Fargo in the opening round of the North Dakota Legion A State Baseball Tournament at Southside Ballp...

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Bismarck Representatives pitcher Matt Guenther delivers to home plate against West Fargo Wednesday in the opening round of the North Dakota Legion A State Baseball Tournament. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

Bismarck pitcher Matt Guenther threw a one-hitter and the Representatives’ lineup backed him up with nine hits, leading to a 6-0 win against West Fargo in the opening round of the North Dakota Legion A State Baseball Tournament at Southside Ballpark and Astoria Field.

Bismarck, the West Region’s top seed, advances to face East No. 2 Valley City at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, while West Fargo will take on Velva in a loser-out game at 10:30 a.m.

“It’s a big deal (to win the first game),” said Guenther, who lost his no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning. “It’s nice to come out in the state tournament and get a win, get off on the right track, carry momentum for the rest of the tournament.”

The Representatives were staked to a 1-0 lead in the first after an RBI single from Ben Weaver that scored Dawson Weikum.

But Guenther got a little more breathing room in the bottom of the fourth when the Representatives sent six to the plate and added three runs on a double from Mason Thorenson, a groundout by Jakob Olson and a single through the right side by Nate Burkhardsmeier.

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“It’s fun to pitch with a lead, and it takes a lot of pressure off me,” Guenther said.

Bismarck added a fifth run in the next inning when Jalen Ziegler doubled home Drew Stoddart, and the Representatives capped their scoring in the sixth, where Isaiah Thomas led off with a walk, advanced to second on a balk and then to third on a groundout. Thomas scored the game’s final run on another balk.

West Fargo’s Jacob Johnson broke up Guenther’s no-hitter with a two-out double in the sixth inning, but he was left stranded. Guenther walked two, hit one and struck out four in the game. Brady Beyl reached base via an error in the fourth, but he was erased on a double play off the bat of Tanner Zepeda.

“I love just letting (the defense) work,” Guenther said. “I have a great outfield, great infield, helping me back there. I usually don’t try to strike people out. I just let those guys work and get outs for us.”

Bismarck 6, West Fargo 0

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Ryan Bourassa, Garrett Levin, Kyle Schmitz and Jacob Johnson. Matt Guenther and Ben Weaver.

W–Guenther. L–Bourassa. HR–None.

Highlights: WF, Jacob Johnson 1 for 3, 2B. B, Mason Thorenson 1 for 2, 2B, run; Drew Stoddart 1 for 2, 2 runs; Matt Guenther 1 for 2, run, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K, 2 BB.

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