Rolette Co. falls to Velva at Section 5 Tourney
Rolette County won three loser-out games in two days to reach the championship of the Section 5 Legion Tournament in Surrey.
Unfortunately, that’s where the Muskrats’ season would end.
A rested Velva team built a five-run lead en route to a 6-2 victory on July 25 to win its first section title since 2005 and advance to the Class B state Legion tournament this week.
Velva was the tournament’s top seed and won all three of its games, defeating Minot and Surrey before the win over Rolette.
No. 2 Rolette, meanwhile, opened with a victory over Cando. The squad then lost to Surrey but rebounded to defeat Bottineau, Minot and Surrey to meet Velva. The Muskrats would have needed to top Velva twice to earn the section title.
Velva 6, RC 2
Defense is an often overlooked part of baseball. However, it was sparkling fielding that was center stage in the fourth inning of the Section 5 championship on July 25.
Trailing 1-0, Rolette had a golden opportunity to put up a crooked number on the scoreboard with bases loaded and no outs in the top of the fourth inning.
However, Velva pitcher Trenton Bruner and his infield defense behind him had other ideas.
Muskrat batters Ian Keller, Nic Pfeifer and Blake Nelson all reached base safely to begin the inning. Batter Garrett Thompson hit a hard grounder to third, but third basemen Jon Mack fielded it cleanly threw to catcher Zack Podoll who was standing on home plate. Podoll then quickly fired it down to first basemen Garrett Wible just before Thompson reached first. It was a momentum-changing play. Bruner than struckout Josh Casavant to get out of the inning unscathed.
Just as important as the defensive play in the top of the inning, Velva would add two runs in the bottom of the frame to stretch its lead to three en route to a 6-2 victory.
Rolette pitcher Zach Thompson pitched well, giving up just five hits over six innings, and he avoided the big inning.
However, it was the big inning Rolette sorely needed at the plate. After pounded out 40 hits and scoring 37 runs in three loser-out games, the bats cooled off for RC.
The team could only muster just a pair of sixth inning runs off Bruner.
The loss ended what otherwise was a great season for RC, which shared the regular season section title with Velva.
The future does look bright for RC as everyone on the current roster is eligible to return next season.
RC reached the championship by downing Surrey in loser-out play.
Rolette County didn’t forget the blowout loss the Blue Sox handed them two days earlier, and with both teams needing a win to extend its season, it was RC which would have more offense on display.
The Muskrats jumped on Surrey pitcher Aaron Gebur early, batting around and scoring six runs in the first inning en route to a 7-5 win on July 25. The big hit was Nic Pfeifer’s home run – his fourth of the tournament. Zach Thompson also homered in the inning.
Surrey’s offense would make a little noise in the middle innings, however, pitcher Nic Pfeifer would get the timely out to prevent further damage.
The win advanced the Muskrats into their first title game since 2006.
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