Sunday, August 12, 2012

Regional runners-up: Wahpeton rally dashes Ely's title bid

An elusive third out was Ely's undoing Sunday afternoon in the Division II Central Plains Regional championship game.

Three walks, a bad-hop single and a wild pitch - all after two outs were recorded - allowed host Wahpeton to rally for a 3-1 victory and spoil Post 248's quest for the regional crown.

Seth Meide's two-run ground ball took a wicked hop and evaded Ely third baseman Trevor Bernsdorf, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score as Wahpeton (47-5) erased a 1-0 deficit in the next-to-last frame. A wild pitch by losing pitcher Wes Snyder brought in Preston Kath, and winning pitcher and tournament MVP Jeremy Bontjes retired Ely in order in the seventh, giving the tournament hosts and North Dakota runner-up its first regional championship.

Ely, which finished second in last weekend's Minnesota state tournament and was making its second consecutive regional bid, finished 32-11.

For five innings, it looked as if Ely would win the tournament as Snyder kept Wahpeton off the board.

But Ely, which won its first three games in the regional including a 6-4 Saturday decision over Wahpeton, misfired on many scoring opportunities.

Nick Mathews' sacrifice fly plated Sean Fisher in teh top of the third, but Post 248 left the bases loaded in teh second and stranded two more runners in the third.

Bontjes, who relieved starter Tyler Gripentrop, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth and induced double-play balls in both the fifth and sixth frames. Ely stranded 11 runners through six innings.

Snyder, who suffered only his third loss of the year, gave up four hits and recorded six strikeouts.

Mathews had two of Ely's five hits while Jory Johnson added a second-inning double.

Johnson, Bernsdorf and Snyder all made the 12-player all-tournament team.

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