By Jake Kulland
Babe Ruth Champions
The Langdon Babe Ruth Eagles are the District 3 Champions for the third year in a row defeating Nelson County in the championship game, 2-1, for the title. They now head to the Babe Ruth State Tournament being held in Watford City on July 26-30. The Eagles first game will be against LaMoure on July 26 at 3 p.m. Pictured back row, l-r: Coach Dave Hein, Alex Cluchie, Kadyn Hein, Mason Romfo, Dawson Hein, Parker Rime, Markus Kingzett, Jack Romfo, Tucker Welsh, Brady Regner, Carter Tetrault and Gage Goodman; front row: Zach Schlittenhard, Kaden Hein, Cole Welsh, Eli Johnson, Nickolas Kingzett, Brayden Schwartz and Jace Rime.
The Langdon Eagles Babe Ruth baseball lost some serious talent from last year’s squad that won the State B Babe Ruth Tournament two years ago and took third last season. But this year’s younger squad, coached by first-year men Dave Hein, Mark Romfo and Cody Schlittenhard, battled all summer, and they ended up winning the Northern League Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament held in Langdon July 18-20 for the third year in a row. They won three games to win the title, beating Park River 7-5, Nelson County 6-2, and then defeating the Owls again 2-1 in the championship game. The Eagles now advance to the State B Babe Ruth Tournament in Watford City July 26-30. Here is a recap of their three games at regionals to get to the Big Dance:
Langdon 7, Park River 5
The Eagles got the second seed in the tournament, which gave them a first round bye. They then took on Park River, 7-5, in a winner’s bracket game on July 18. Langdon got the scoring going in the third inning when Markus Kingzett and Mason Romfo both reached base on Park River errors with Kingzett scoring on another error. Jack Romfo then singled to bring home Mason Romfo and give the team a 2-0 lead.
They took that lead into the sixth inning. Kingzett threw four and two thirds innings of scoreless baseball with seven strikeouts before he neared his pitching limit, giving way to Tucker Welsh. Welsh struck out the last batter of the fifth inning but got into trouble with some walks in the sixth coupled by back to back doubles from the Pirates’ Sam Hagen and Carter Spoonland. Jack Romfo came on in relief and had some control issues as well but got out of the inning after Park River scored five runs.
Things were looking down, but the Eagles came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth with their hitting shoes on, getting big hits from Kingzett, Welsh, Mason Romfo, and Brady Regner. The big blow was a two run single by Gage Goodman which gave the team back the lead.
Jack Romfo made that lead stand up, shutting down the Pirates in the seventh to win the game. Alex Cluchie was beaned on his elbow and did not return to the game.
Langdon 6, Nelson County 2
Moving on in the winner’s bracket, Langdon faced Nelson County on July 19. The Owls upset top-seeded Grafton 17-5 to move on to play the Eagles.
After Nelson County got a run on two hits in the first inning, the Eagles got that run right back when Gage Goodman was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Markus Kingzett. Langdon got two more runs in the second inning when Mason Romfo stroked a two out single to left field to bring home Kadyn Hein and Kingzett.
The Eagles got the rest of their runs in the third, with Goodman leading off with a base hit plus Dawson Hein and Brady Regner getting on base. That was all followed by a two run single by Kingzett.
On the mound Carter Tetrault was in command most of the way, going the distance and scattering seven hits and striking out four batters in a complete game win.
Langdon 2, Nelson County 1
The Eagles awaited the winner of Nelson County and Grafton in a losers out game on July 20 to see who they would play for the title. That game lasted nine innings, with the Owls prevailing 6-5.
Langdon got on the board first in the second inning when Markus Kingzett singled to bring Brady Regner across the plate. They got their second run in the third inning when Dawson Hein hit a pop up into shallow center field, but the Owls fielder had to turn his back to the plate to make the catch, which allowed Mason Romfo to score on a sacrifice fly.
Those would be all they would need, but things got dicey in the sixth. Jack Romfo got the start on the hill and threw very well, striking out 11 batters in five and two thirds innings. But he reached his 95 pitch limit and was relived by Kingzett. Nelson County ended up loading the bases and scored a run when Carter Tetrault, who committed an error two batters earlier, made a great catch on a hard hit line drive by Cade Stein to more than make up for it and end the inning. After giving up a lead off single in the seventh, Kingzett retired the Owls in order, highlighted by a great move by Jack Romfo on a ground ball at third base to end the game.