Diegel’s solid outing ends Hazen’s season

BEULAH – LaMoure Post 19’s first two games at the American Legion Class B State Tournament ended in eight innings. The first, a walk-off loss to host Beulah and the second a walk-off win that ended Enderlin’s season.

Friday’s game had much less drama.

LaMoure pitcher Beau Diegel finished off the Hazen Astros in a timely fashion on Friday at Goldmann Field, scattering six hits over the duration in a 5-1 win.

Hazen ended its season at 13-16, and LaMoure (28-11-1) advanced to another loser-out game beginning at 2:30 p.m. today against Cando.

The right-handed Diegel (5-2) allowed zero earned runs, one walk and struck out two. He did the bulk of his work by pitching to contact and utilizing a nasty changeup.

“He’s not going to blow it by anybody, but his offspeed was working pretty good and had them out on their front foot all day,” LaMoure coach J.R. Thielges said. “They were pounding the ball in the ground and good things happen when you get ground balls, like those three double plays.”

After Diegel dealt a 1-2-3 top of the first, Brady Thielges led off the bottom of the frame with a double to the left-field fence. Kenny Hodem reached on a bunt single that moved Thielges to third. Both Thielges and Hodem scored two batters later on Tyler Thielges’ single to right-center field. Diegel followed with a single to right and Devin Piehl singled in Thielges before Chris Heinrich popped out to end the inning.

“(The first inning) was a big help,” Diegel said. “I think any pitcher that comes out with that extra three runs has confidence.”

Hazen scored an unearned run in the top of the second and LaMoure responded in the bottom half with an unearned run of its own. Diegel and Hazen pitcher Nate Leintz kept further runners out of scoring position until the fifth inning, when LaMoure added one run on two hits.

Diegel allowed one single in both the sixth and seventh innings, but neither runner advanced past first base.

J.R. Thielges said the double-elimination format benefits a team like LaMoure, which boasts a deep pitching rotation.

“We probably don’t have that big stud No. 1 guy, but we have four No. 2s I would say, and they’re all capable,” he said.

Though Hazen finished with a sub-.500 record, coach Scott Leintz said its record isn’t indicative of how well the season went.

“Like I told the kids, we had a good year making it here,” Leintz said. “Being able to play in three games at a state tournament is huge for a lot of these kids. We gave (LaMoure) a good game, we just couldn’t get a break.”

Ryan Holmgren covers Legion baseball and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgrenMDN.