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Flesche’s two homers lift West Fargo over Roughriders

A pair of three-run home runs from Drake Flesche proved to be just enough for West Fargo to get by. After Flesche's second blast put the Patriots ahead 8-0 in the top of the fourth on Thursday, the Dickinson Roughriders tallied seven runs on seve...

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Dickinson Roughriders second baseman Tanner Ouellette slides home safely ahead of the tag from West Fargo catcher Jacob Johnson during the first game of Thursday's American Legion baseball doubleheader at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

A pair of three-run home runs from Drake Flesche proved to be just enough for West Fargo to get by.

After Flesche's second blast put the Patriots ahead 8-0 in the top of the fourth on Thursday, the Dickinson Roughriders tallied seven runs on seven hits in the bottom half of the frame, but they would get no closer.

West Fargo escaped with a 10-7 victory at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark in the first game of the American Legion baseball conference doubleheader. In the second game, Flesche was again a thorn in the side of the Roughriders, pitching six innings with six strikeouts and drilling a three-run double to center field to give West Fargo (4-1, 4-0 league) a 5-2 lead in an eventual 8-3 victory.

"He's a ball player. He's one of the better ones in the state, and he showed that tonight with how dangerous he is," Roughriders head coach Stephen Greenwood said. "Ideally, in better circumstances, we don't have to pitch to him as much as we did tonight, but with them having good at-bats and getting on base a lot, we were in situations where we had to pitch to him."

In the first game, Flesche finished 2 for 3 with six RBI, and he was also walked intentionally his last time up.

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Flesche's first home run to left field gave his Patriots a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Two runs were already home after an RBI single from Denver Blinn in the second inning and a sacrifice fly from Parker Borg earlier in the third.

In the fourth, Andrew Enno led off with a single and Hunter Ulmer reached on an error. Dickinson pitcher Kendall Jones then struck out Hayden Reynolds and got Borg to ground out before surrendering another long ball to left.

The cushion would be a great help for the Patriots once Dickinson (5-3, 3-3) got its own bats going in the bottom half.

Roughriders centerfielder Michael McChesney led off with a double and advanced to third on a single by Cam Jorda. Sam England followed with a double to plate McChesney, and a fielder's choice two batters later allowed Jorda to score. Tristen Brunk, Morgan Wardner and Tanner Ouellette all singled, cutting the lead to 8-4. An RBI groundout off the bat of Lucas Jones brought home the fifth run, and Jorda later doubled home two more to complete the damage and chase Patriots starter Ryan Bourassa from the mound.

"Once one guy starts hitting, everybody else starts getting jacked and starts hitting - we call it the Hit Train," England said. "One guy hits and the next guy wants to do the same thing, and so on and so on."

That would be all Dickinson would get, however, and the Patriots added another pair of runs in the seventh for the final margin.

In the nightcap, England doubled to right field to score Lucas Jones and McChesney for a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

"The ball was looking pretty big," England said. "(Flesche) was hiding the ball pretty good, couldn't pick it up right away, but then as the game went on I was seeing it pretty well."

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With two outs in the second, though, McChesney dropped what would have been the third out in center field, which allowed Flesche and Tyler Fritz to score and tie the game.

Flesche's bases-loaded double in the third inning broke the tie and sent the Patriots on their way to a sweep of the league series.

Ouellette took the loss in the second game after working 6 1/3 innings and allowing five hits, six runs (three earned) and six walks with two strikeouts.

"They're probably the best hitting team in the state, and if you give a team like that extra outs, they're going to hurt you," Greenwood said. "We had too many walks and too many errors tonight to give to that good of a team."

The Roughriders return to the field at 5:30 p.m. today for a home doubleheader against Fargo Post 400.

"We just have to forget about today," England said. "Learn from our mistakes and go and get two wins."

West Fargo 10, Dickinson 7

WF 014 300 2 - 10 11 0

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D 000 700 0 - 7 10 1

WF: Ryan Bourassa (3.2), Tristen Roehrich (3.1) and Jacob Johnson. D: Kendall Jones (4.0), Eli Jung (3.0) and Tristen Brunk.

W-Bourassa. L-Jones. HR-WF, Drake Flesche 2.

Highlights: WF, Drake Flesche 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI; Parker Borg 2-3, 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI; Hunter Ulmer 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI; Andrew Enno 1-3, 2 R, 1 RBI; Denver Blinn 3-4, 1 R, 1 RBI. D, Cam Jorda 3-4, 1 R, 2 RBI; Tanner Ouellette 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI; Sam England 1-3, 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI; Michael McChesney 1-3, 2B, 1 R; Tristen Brunk 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI; Morgan Wardner 1-3, 1 R; Eli Jung 1-2; Lucas Jones 1 RBI; Kendall Jones 4 IP, 8 H, 8 R (5 ER), 6 K, 2 BB.

West Fargo 8, Dickinson 3

WF 023 000 3 - 8 7 1

D 200 001 0 - 3 6 3

WF: Drake Flesche (6.0), Brady Beyl (1.0) and Jacob Johnson. D: Tanner Ouellette (6.1), Cody Maier (0.2) and Tristen Brunk.

W-Flesche. L-Ouellette. HR-None.

Highlights: WF, Drake Flesche 2-3, 2B, 1 R, 4 RBI, 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 6 K, 1 BB; Hayden Reynolds 1 R, 1 RBI; Jake Faircloth 1-4, 2 R; Tyler Fritz 2-4, 1 R. D, Sam England 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Lucas Jones 2-4, 1 R; Michael McChesney 1-2, 2B, 2 R; Ethan Dietz 1-3; Tanner Ouellette 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R (3 ER), 2 K, 6 BB.

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