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Region 7 baseball champions . . . The 2012 Lewis & Clark
Wildcats claim the Region 7 championship on May 22nd
with a 7-3 victory over Des Lacs-Burlington.
By Caroline Downs
The Lewis & Clark high school baseball team (13-4) hasn’t stepped onto the state tournament field since 1980, but the 2012 Wildcats will run the bases there after claiming the Region 7 tournament championship with a decisive 7-3 win over Des Lacs-Burlington.
Lewis & Clark earned the state berth May 22nd, defeating DLB for the second time in the regional tournament, played at the Lampert-Karna Field in Makoti, and for the fifth time this season. DLB finished in second place, followed by Watford City in third and Trinity Christian fourth.
The championship game was a crowd pleaser as the Wildcats took a 2-1 lead after the first inning and held onto that margin through the second. The Lakers edged forward 3-2 with a run at the top of the third inning, only to have Lewis & Clark tie the score at 3 after their turn with the bats.
The Wildcats came on strong in the fourth inning, sending three runners across home plate and holding DLB scoreless. Pitchers Adam Birdsall, who threw for four and a half innings, and Chandler Karna challenged the Lakers at bat.
Lewis & Clark nudged ahead 7-3 in the fifth inning on a single run, then prevented DLB from seeing home plate in the sixth and seventh innings to win the game. The Wildcats’ fielders put up a wall of solid defense, including a double play to knock off runners at second and first bases.
Karna scored on a single that set him up for three stolen bases. Tyler Fjeldahl and Brandin Langan each hit home runs in the game. The Wildcats finished with 9 hits, 2 errors and the championship plaque.
Longtime coach Brian Nelson was pleased with the Wildcats’ win, but not totally surprised. “At the beginning of the school year, I told Coach [Todd] Lee, these guys could make state in football, basketball and baseball, because they have the talent to do it,” he said.
He praised the leadership and athleticism of senior team members Birdsall, Karna and Langan. “They made a lot great plays for us in the tournament,” Nelson said, “especially in the championship game.”
He noted the return of Fjeldahl and catcher Tristan Gray to competition, with both boys taking the field after recovering from earlier injuries. “They did a great job for us, and then we have a bunch of other young players,” Nelson said. “They’re not the normal freshmen and sophomore players!”
The Lewis & Clark co-op team is made up of athletes from Berthold, Carpio, Makoti and Plaza. According to Nelson, the last time players from those towns competed in the state tournament was 1980, when current player Aaron Schenfisch’s father Tom was playing.
All-region players from the Wildcats team include Adam Birdsall, Austin Lee, Chandler Karna and Brandin Langan. They join Taylor Hill, Zeb Dawson, Austin Schestler, Martin Kimball and Justin Thomas of DLB, Isaac Black, Derek Stockman, Lane Huck and Trenton Hove of Trinity Christian, and Lucas Nicholson, Andrew Sampsel, Nate Egeberg, Quayde Shores and Brandon Taylor of Watford City.
Isaac Black was chosen as the Region 7 Senior Athlete of the Year, with Andy Lach of DLB named the Region 7 Coach of the Year.
Wildcats open against
The Wildcats will travel to Jamestown Thursday morning and prepare to face the defending Class B state champion Kindred-Richland team (18-8) from Region 1. The game is scheduled at Jack Brown Stadium, following the 4:30 game between Region 3 champion Carrington and Region 6 champion Beulah.
The Bottineau Braves of Region 5 will start quarterfinals action that day at 11:30 am against Washburn/Wilton/Center-Stanton of Region 8, followed by Region 2 champion Midway-Minto against the Region 4 championship team Grafton.
Games continue with semi-finals and consolation rounds on Friday, June 1st. The tournament ends Saturday, June 2nd, beginning with the 7th place game at 11:30 am.
KHRT Radio (106.9 FM or www.khrt.com) will broadcast the Wildcats games, beginning Thursday evening at approximately 6:30 pm.