Morris Legion Post 29 travelled to Fargo for the Red River Diamond Classic from Friday, June 18th to Saturday, June 19 and came home with a record of 1-3 in the round robin formatted tournament. It was a good test for the team, facing many college-age players on the larger Division I teams in their bracket.
Bismarck N.D. was the opening-round opponent for Post 29 and defeated Morris 18-6 in six innings.
Bismarck then scored three runs after two were out against Morris starter Tyler Hansen in the top of the first. Morris answered with two runs in their half of the inning when Hansen led off with a single and scored on a Ryan Beyer two-run home run.
Bismarck came back with eight more runs in the second as Nate Gades relieved Hansen on the mound. They added three more in the third before Morris scored twice to make the score 14-4. Eric Riley had a solo home run and Brady Valnes walked, advanced to third on a single by Cole Riley and a walk to Gades, and scored on a wild pitch.
Hansen scored a run for Morris in the fourth when he singled, stole second and eventually came in on a ground out by Beyer. Valnes scored again in the bottom of the fifth after reaching on an error on an RBI ground-out off of the bat of Gades, but Bismarck ended the game by the 10-run rule in the sixth when they scored four times.
Hansen was the only Morris player with two hits and Beyer drove in three runs.
Moorhead Blue 17
Next up for Morris was the Moorhead Blues. The Blues would end up being the winner of the pool, but not before Post 29 put a scare into them in this contest. After five innings the score was tied 7-7, but Moorhead added 10 runs in the sixth to win the game 17-7.
Hansen led off the game with a home run and after an out was recorded, Beyer homered as well as Post 29 took the early lead. Moorhead answered with four runs off of Mitch Kill in the bottom of the inning, but then Kill settled down, holding them scoreless until the fifth inning.
Post 29 tied the score at 4-4 with two runs in the fourth. E. Riley singled to lead off the inning and he went to third on a double off the center field wall by Valnes. After two strikeouts, Kill came through with a clutch single to right field to drive in both runners.
Morris then took a 7-4 lead in the top of the fifth when Hansen led off with a long double and he went to third on a single off of the bat of Dusty Sauter. After an out, E. Riley walked to load the bases and then with two outs, C. Riley lined a double into the right center field gap to clear the bases.
Moorhead answered immediately with three runs of their own off of Kill in the bottom of the inning and the score was tied at 7-7.
After Post 29 went scoreless in the top of the sixth inning, Moorhead erupted for 10 runs in the bottom of the inning off of three Morris pitchers, ending the game by the 10-run rule. The first three hitters of the inning hit home runs to begin the onslaught.
Hansen, E. Riley, C. Riley, and Kill each had two hits for Post 29 with C. Riley driving in three runs and Kill two.
Moorhead Joes 5
The second day of the Red River Classic saw Post 29 taking on the Moorhead Joes. Evan Schultz got his first start of the year and he responded with five strong innings, leading Morris to a 15-5 win. Schultz gave up four earned runs on eight hits, two walks, and three strike outs. Hansen pitched a perfect sixth inning for Post 29.
Morris got two runs in the top of the first without a hit as Hansen and Beyer walked around a Sauter hit by pitch. C. Riley then hit a sacrifice fly that scored two when the Joes committed a throwing error on the play.
Moorhead tied the score in the top of the fourth before Post 29 scored five times in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-2 lead. The rally started with two outs when Bruer singled and got to second on an error. Hansen then singled for an RBI, stole second, and scored when Sauter reached on an error. Another error put Beyer on base and E. Riley unloaded a three-run home run.
Moorhead came back with three runs of their own in the top of the fifth, but Post 29 responded with seven more in the bottom of the inning. Consecutive errors along with Nate Gibson being hit by pitch loaded the bases and Hansen singled in two. Sauter doubled in a run and after an out, E. Riley homered again, this time a two-run shot to left. C. Riley singled, went to third on a Gades double, and come in to score on a ground out by Valnes.
The final run in the game came when Dan Kolden singled in Gibson who had walked in the bottom of the sixth to end the game 15-5.
Hansen, Sauter, E. Riley, and C. Riley each had two hits and E. Riley drove in five runs and Hansen three.
In their final game of the tournament, Post 29 lost a heart-breaker to Litchfield 8-7. Once again Morris started strong when Hansen and Sauter singled and Beyer walked to load the bases in the top of the first. E. Riley then doubled in two runs, Valnes drove in one with a ground out, and C. Riley another with a sacrifice fly.
Litchfield got to Morris starter E. Riley for a run in the bottom of the inning, but Post 29 got that run back when Sauter reached second on an error and scored on a Beyer single.
Litchfield drew to within 5-4 with two in the second and one in the third before Morris scored twice in the top of the fourth. Bruer doubled and scored on a Sauter single, and Beyer doubled in Sauter.
Litchfield got single runs in the fourth and fifth innings off of Riley with Hansen coming on in relief in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 7-6.
Hansen retired the first six batters he faced before giving up a single in the bottom of the seventh. A double put runners on second and third with no one out. Hansen responded by retiring the next two batters on a pop out and a strikeout, but the next batter hit a high chopper that went into left field, scoring both runners to pull out the dramatic win for Litchfield.
Beyer led the offense with three hits and two RBIs, and Sauter, E. Riley, Gades, and Bruer each had two hits. a