CARRINGTON CRUISING: Post 25 posts back-to-back wins at regional
While coach is away, Post 25 will play.
Carrington American Legion baseball is bowling through the competition at this week's Central Plains Division II regional at John Randall Field in Wahpeton, and it's done so without manager Tim Ranum.
Ranum is currently enjoying a family vacation to South Carolina, while co-interim managers Brady Smith and Braxton Hewitt have guided Post 25 to victories over Waupun, Wisc. and La Crescent, Minn.
"They're winning in spite of me," Ranum said Friday via text message.
Carrington faces the Fargo Bombers at 1 p.m. on Saturday, both still without a loss in the double-elimination tournament.
"The past couple of days our pitching has been phenomenal and our play in the field has been great as well," said Smith, a Carrington native who'll be a senior third baseman for Valley City State University this upcoming college season. "We weren't expecting to be where we are right now, but those two things have helped us earn this spot.
"We have to step it up hitting-wise, I'd say."
Post 25 defeated Waupun 4-3 on Thursday to open the tournament. Jayden Shipman, who'll be joining Smith on the VCSU baseball team this year, earned the win on the mound.
Carrington kept rolling Friday with a 3-1 victory over La Crescent with Drew Page tossing the first five of seven frames to notch the win. Carrington's Lucas Gieszler came on in relief to secure the hold over the next 1 2/3 innings, and Kyle Leapaldt locked down the save getting La Crescent's ninth batter in the order to ground out to Shipman at short.
"Lucas has four hits in the last two games," said coach Hewitt of Post 25's primary catcher. "Behind the plate he's been limiting passed balls and today he did his job on the mound as well.
"It's been a blast. The kids are pumped and are having a great time right now."
The Fargo Bombers opened the tournament with a 5-1 victory over New London, Wisc. and topped Fennimore, Wisc. on Friday by the final of 10-3. The Division II season comes to a close on Sunday, as the Central Plains regional is a non-advancement tournament.
"We know they are a young team but in this tournament that doesn't really matter much," Smith said of the Bombers. "They make few mistakes on defense and are very disciplined at the plate. We've been watching them for a few days and they've definitely earned their spot in this tournament as well.
"We'll need to do all the little things right."
Smith said he's looking forward to his upcoming senior campaign with the Vikings. VCSU finished 2017-18 at 15-30 overall, as Smith moved from the outfield to third in the later half of the season.
"I played infield in high school," Smith said. "We graduated five or six guys, so we've got a lot of experienced guys coming back."
Hewitt was a redshirt freshman for UJ coach Tom Hager's 45-11 Jimmies in 2017-18.
"We've got a really good team—always do," Hewitt said. "Hopefully I'll get the opportunity to play at that level."
Central Plains Regional Tournament
John Randall Field
Game 1: Fargo Bombers 5, New London (Wis.) 1.
Game 2: Fennimore (Wis.) 5, Le Sueur-Henderson (Minn.) 3.
Game 3: Carrington 4, Waupun (Wis.) 3.
Game 4: La Crescent (Minn.) 9, Wahpeton 0.
Game 5: Le Sueur-Henderson 2, New London 1.
Game 6: Waupun 7, Wahpeton 2.
Game 7: Fargo 10, Fennimore 3.
Game 8: Carrington 3, La Crescent 1.
Game 9: La Crescent vs. Le Sueur-Henderson, 4 p.m.
Game 10: Fennimore vs. Waupun, 6 p.m.
Game 11: Fargo vs. Carrington, 1 p.m.
Game 12: Loser G11 vs. Loser G10, 4 p.m.
Game 13: Winner G11 vs. Winner G9, 7 p.m.
Game 14: Winner G13 vs. Winner G12, noon.
Game 14: If necessary.