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Red River rallies, downs Senior High in baseball

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Grand Forks Red River's Drew Montgomery slides safely into second base as East Grand Forks' Carter Beck holds the ball in the fifth inning of their game at Stauss Park Monday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

Jackson Haagenson keeps it simple when he's on the pitching mound.

"I throw fastballs and hope for strikes,'' the Grand Forks Red River High School sophomore said. "I don't throw a lot of off-speed stuff.''

The formula worked Monday. Haagenson threw the final three innings, allowing no runs and four hits, as the Roughriders rallied to a 6-5 baseball win at East Grand Forks Senior High and handed the Green Wave their first loss of the season.

Haagenson was making his third pitching appearance of the season. The left-hander struck out two and didn't allow a walk. "The first time I threw this year, I was a little shaky throwing strikes,'' he said. "I was throwing strikes today and our defense was doing a good job.''

Haagenson got five ground-ball outs in his three innings. Senior High had runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, but Haagenson worked his way out of the jams.

"Teams don't see a lot of lefties, so that helps Jackson,'' Red River coach Mark Varriano said. "And he threw strikes. That's what we ask of our pitchers and he did a good job. All three of our pitchers threw pretty well.''

Senior High jumped to an early lead, going ahead 5-1 with a 5-run bottom of the second inning highlighted by Dylan Selk's 2-run single.

After that, however, "we stopped swinging the bats,'' EGF coach Anthony Walsh said. "We looked at way too many good pitches and when we did swing we were out in front of pitches. We had way too many ground balls instead of line drives.

"Our pitchers threw strikes. But we had some errors at inopportune times and (Red River) took advantage of them.''

Red River took its 6-5 lead with two runs in the sixth. Zach Carolin and Tyler Savage opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Nathan Schumacher's sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, and both scored on Dane Montgomery's ground out, with a throwing error on the play.

"We're not a team that will hit a lot of home runs,'' Varriano said. "But today we executed and were able to capitalize on opportunities.''

Red River, winning for the third time in its last four games, improved to 3-4. Senior High dropped to 8-1.

"This will be a gut check,'' Walsh said of the first loss. "We have to learn from it.''