In a game with plenty of opportunities for both teams, it was Fargo, N.D., Post 2 which capitalized in a 4-1 victory over Randolph County, N.C., Post 45.
The offenses were busy early in this one with constant chances for both teams.
It only took three batters for Fargo to make an impact in the top of the first. After a single and an out, Cole Hage hit a bomb to dead center to put Fargo up early.
The first two batters for North Carolina reached with singles in the bottom of the frame, setting up a first-and-third situation. A flyball to shallow left field ensued and the runner strayed a bit too off of third on a fake tag up attempt. Third baseman Drew Sandy expertly cutoff the throw home by Zach Sandy and flipped to shortstop Zach Kluvers covering third base to put down the tag.
That was a crucial out to slow down North Carolina, as the Mid-Atlantic champions took advantage of an interference call and a double by Colby Hammer to score Trevor Marsh and halve the lead following the out at third.
North Carolina loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second after a walk, single and a hit by pitch but Tyler Parret got a strikeout and a flyout to get out of trouble with the lead.
North Dakota loaded the bases with two singles and a walk in the top of the third, but Braxton Davis worked got a force to end the inning.
Fargo took advantage in the fourth with walks to Brandt Kolpack and Drew Sandy, both of whom came around on a Zach Sandy single.
North Carolina got a one-out walk and a single to left the bottom of the fourth but once again aggressive baserunning was costly as Zach Sandy hit Drew Sandy and the latter won a race to the third base bag to catch a runner trying to go first to third, stymying the threat.
“They hit out to me and my job was just to hit the cutoff man and on both plays I just hit the cut and we got two big out,” the left fielder said.
North Carolina put two in scoring position in the fifth but Parret got a huge strikeout to end the frame and his day. He finished with just the lone run allowed after scattering six hits over his five innings.
Fargo threatened in the sixth with two on, as well, but Hunter Hill came on in relief and worked out of trouble to keep the deficit just three.
Brayden Koenig nearly added to the Fargo lead with a shot to right field but just missed, hitting the wall for a double. One batter later, second baseman Tatum Marsh made a leaping grab to keep the score, 4-1.
Austin Manuel, who came on in relief for Parret, put the North Carolina offense down quietly in the sixth and seventh, allowing just one runner to finish off his save.
With this result, both teams are 1-1 going into the final day of pool play.
“We were locked in and focused and it was great to rebound,” Zach Sandy said.
The game was played as part of USAA Military Appreciation Day. Prior to the game, Medal of Honor recipient Hal Fritz addressed the crowd and met with the teams.
“It was really cool to hear the stories of what he did and it gave me goosebumps,” Zach Sandy continued. “The stories were humbling and I think it motivated some of us. It is great to see all of the veterans come out and support.”
North Dakota will look for a win at 4 p.m., Sunday against 0-2 Massachusetts. North Carolina will look to rebound in front of its home fans against 2-0 Idaho Sunday at 7 p.m.