Close, but not quite
The Rugby Babe Ruth team entered its sectional tournament in a bit of a hitting slump. The team broke out of its slump during the tournament, but lost a pair of one-run games, finishing third in the tournament.
Against Towner in the tournament’s opening round, Rugby scored two in the first inning as Anders Johnson doubled to lead off the game and Hunter Hager drove him in, scoring later himself.
Rugby continued to score throughout the game and got a solid starting pitching performance out of Mygland to take an 18-1 win.
The team took that confidence into the next round, facing a tough Rolette team which was ranked second entering the tournament.
Rugby trailed, but tied the game in the sixth inning and nearly pushed the go-ahead run across the plate in the seventh, but couldn’t. Rolette eventually scored on an eighth-inning single to take the win 6-5 and stay unbeaten.
Rugby stayed alive with a 12-1 win over Dunseith in a loser-out contest, pulling away in the late innings.
After plating two runs in the fourth, Rugby got a one-out double from Bennie Mygland and a single from Eric Hooker to kickstart a two-run inning as Dillion Fly also drove in a run.
Rugby continued to add runs in the next inning, stringing together five runs on five singles.
Rugby nearly got another shot at eventual champion Rolette, but first had to play Bottineau in a loser-out game.
Both teams hit the ball well early.
Rugby scored four in the top of the first inning to gain momentum and scored nine in total in the first three innings.
But Bottineau was just as hot at the plate. After scoring a single run in the first, Bottineau pounced on Rugby pitching for five runs in the second and five more in the third.
The two teams cooled off over the middle innings. Bottineau didn’t score in innings 4, 5 and 6 and Rugby knotted the game with a pair of runs in its half of the fifth.
The game was still tied entering the seventh inning, when Bottineau pushed across one more run to take the win.
Rolette cruised through the tournament undefeated, besting Bottineau 18-4 in the championship and will move on to play Grafton with the winner earning a berth in the state tourney.