Blazek lifts Post 2 over Chiefs
WILLISTON -- Cam Blazek only threw 75 pitches, but they were electric. The Fargo Post 2 starter tossed 7 2/3 hitless innings against Mandan on Wednesday, leading his team to a 5-1 victory in the first round of the North Dakota Class AA American L...
WILLISTON - Cam Blazek only threw 75 pitches, but they were electric.
The Fargo Post 2 starter tossed 7 2/3 hitless innings against Mandan on Wednesday, leading his team to a 5-1 victory in the first round of the North Dakota Class AA American Legion State Baseball Tournament at Ardean Aafedt Stadium.
In coordination with new pitch count rules, Blazek will need three days of rest before pitching again. He's hopeful that means he gets the ball Sunday in a championship game for his team.
"That's huge for my teammates to have that trust in me," Blazek said. "They said, 'We want you for the championship,' and that speaks everything. I would want nothing more than to pitch a great game for them. They've worked so hard this year."
Fargo Post 2 advances to play the sixth-seeded Minot Vistas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Minot was a 13-4 winner over Dickinson earlier on Wednesday.
Blazek, who had seven strikeouts against one walk, was in top form Wednesday. As was his defense behind him - Post 2 turned three double plays in the game to back up its pitcher.
"I don't know how many great plays my defense made," Blazek said. "The double plays, Jonas (Sanders) made great plays over at third, great plays over at first by Ryland (Aamold). Chandler Ibach, my catcher, and I were working all day. We just connected on everything. As soon as we find our groove, it's really fun."
Fargo Post 2 got on the board in the third inning, collecting two runs on the strength of two hits and three walks to chase Mandan starter Jaden Andresen. Fargo tacked on two runs against Mason Huntley before the inning was over for a 4-0 lead. Huntley pitched the rest of the way for the Chiefs with just two hits and one run allowed.
Jon Brookes added an RBI single in the eighth inning to complete Fargo's scoring.
"You want to win that first game of the state tournament," Fargo Post 2 head coach Luke Rustad said. "If you fall behind the 8-ball on the first day, it's still doable, but it's a lot tougher road, so it's important we got off on the right foot."
The Chiefs were held without a hit until Evan Arenz broke through against Luke DeVries with one out in the top of the ninth. Following the knock, Andresen flew out to center and DeVries drilled Ty Leingang and Alex Horner to load the bases. Andy Pugliano relieved DeVries and served up an RBI single to Huntley to account for the final margin.
"(Blazek) did a good job of mixing speeds, and I give a lot of credit to their defense," Chiefs head coach Jake Kincaid said. "Some balls we hit hard and they made good plays to get to them."
Kincaid referenced his team's play-in game against Jamestown, a 13-2 win on Tuesday. He was hopeful his players could channel that kind of performance into their matchup with Dickinson at 1 p.m. CT Thursday.
Fargo Post 2 5, Mandan 1
M 000 000 001 - 1 2 1
F 004 000 01X - 5 4 2
M: Jaden Andresen (2.0), Mason Huntley (6.0) and Huntley. F: Cam Blazek (7.2), Luke DeVries (1.0) and Andy Pugliano (0.1) and Chandler Ibach.
W-Blazek. L-Andresen. HR-None.
Highlights: M, Mason Huntley 1-4, 1 RBI, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K; Evan Arenz 1-3, 1 R; Jaden Andresen 2 IP, 2 H, 4 R (4 ER), 5 BB, 1 K. F, Jonas Sanders 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI; Luke Sandy 1-3, 2 R; Chandler Ibach 1 RBI; Matt Pietsch 1 RBI; Jon Brookes 1-4, 1 RBI; Jimmy Reynolds 1-3, 1 R; Ben Bryant 1 R; Cam Blazek 7 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K.