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A championship rematch split

PARK RIVER, N.D.—The rematch was a stalemate.

A year ago, Park River/Fordville-Lankin beat Thompson 8-4 in the championship game of the North Dakota Class B high school baseball tournament.

For the first time since that title game, the teams met Tuesday. The outcome was a split, with Park River/F-L winning the opener 6-2 to hand Thompson its first loss of the season, then the Tommies held off a fifth-inning Aggies rally to win 7-6.

"It's not just another doubleheader,'' Thompson pitcher/infielder Marcus Hughes said. "We wanted to get some revenge for last year, the state title game. We got half of it. It's a split decision.''

Said Aggies coach Brett Omdahl: "It felt like a state tournament setting. We had a lot of fans here. The players were excited to play. Nothing was really settled after today. I think this was two of the best teams in the state playing each other.''

Hughes had a big part in the Tommies getting the split.

His grand slam highlighted a five-run second inning to break a scoreless tie in the second game. The Tommies added two more in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth and final inning.

But Nick Thompson and Will Magnusson each drove in a pair of runs with hits and Tom Magnusson double home another run. With Hayden Overby on in relief and a runner at third, Hughes at shortstop backhanded a ball and threw to catcher Trey Larimer to get the runner out at home and preserve the lead.

"That was a real big play,'' Tommies coach Brady Schwab said. "Not a bad game for Marcus. He threw well until he ran out of game at the end and he got the big home run. Hayden came into a difficult spot at the end and found wants to get outs.''

In the opener, Park River/F-L broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the second to take the lead for good. Bryce Wood walked and advanced to second on a passed ball. He scored from there when winning pitcher Jacob Erovick singled down the left-field line.

Adam Zavalney had the big bat in the with three hits and three runs, while Nick Thompson drove home two runs.

Erovick got help from his defense, as twice the Aggies turned double plays on grounders to shortstop Nate Zavalney to second baseman Will Gaarder to first baseman Will Magnusson.

"Erovick struggled a little right away,'' Omdahl said. "But he settled down, located his pitches and mixed them up. And our defense played well in the first game. Our middle infield is very solid.''

The split left Park River/F-L with a 13-1 record, while Thompson is 8-1.