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Hjelle leads Green Wave to a sweep over Thief River Falls

East Grand Forks' Alex Mushitz (5) high-fives teammates Evan Estad (23) and Dylan Selk (19) after scoring in the Green Wave's game against Thief River Falls Tuesday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 4
East Grand Forks' Jake Hjelle throws a pitch in the Green Wave's first game of a doubleheader against Thief River Falls Tuesday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 4
Thief River Falls' Zach Praska scores an early run against East Grand Forks in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Stauss Park. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 4
East Grand Forks' Victor Saucedo fields a ground ball during the Green Wave's game against Thief River Falls Tuesday at Stauss Park. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 4

Jake Hjelle the pitcher has gotten a lot of support from Jake Hjelle the hitter.

Hjelle pitched five innings to pick up the high school baseball win Tuesday as East Grand Forks Senior High defeated visiting Thief River Falls 9-3. The Green Wave finished the sweep with an 8-5 win in the nightcap.

Hjelle is 2-0 on the mound this season. In both games, he drove in the go-ahead run.

Against the Prowlers, the score was tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the fourth inning. After Jake Osowski was hit by a pitch and Alex Mushitz singled, Jake Hjelle lined a double down the left-field line to drive in two runs and break the tie. Dylan Selk followed with a run-scoring single and the Wave never trailed again.

Hjelle said it's a coincidence that he's driven home the go-ahead run in both his wins. The first was a 4-3 victory against Bemidji, when the right-hander pitched a scoreless top of the fifth inning, then hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to erase a 3-2 Bemidji lead.

"I do the same thing every time I go up, just trying to put the ball in play,'' Hjelle said. "That (hitting) is my thing. It doesn't matter where I'm playing, I love hitting.''

And the pitching part of the win? "I was locating my fastball pretty well and I was throwing my curve for strikes,'' Hjelle said. "That doesn't always happen.''

Thief River Falls scored three runs in the first, but Hjelle shut them out over his final four innings.

"Once Jake got through the first inning, it seemed like the deeper he pitched into the game, the better he threw,'' EGF coach Anthony Walsh said. "And it seemed like as he developed confidence on the mound today, he was more confident at the plate.''

Kyle Campos threw the first six innings to get the Senior High pitching win in the second game. The right-hander allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits. He, too, benefitted from Hjelle's hitting.

With the Green Wave holding just a 4-3 lead, Hjelle doubled in two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. He added another two-run double in the fifth to increase the Wave lead to 8-4.

"Jake is good at the plate,'' Walsh said. "In situations with baserunners on, it's nice having him up. He always makes contact; good things happen when you do that. He's a quality hitter and a good RBI guy.''

Thief River Falls totaled 12 hits in the doubleheader, four of them—including a pair of doubles— by Dylan Manderud.