Beulah lacks intensity, ends season

BEULAH – Drooping heads and glum faces conveyed the Beulah Cyclones’ story.

The hometown kids entered the American Legion Class B State Tournament as a favorite and exited on Friday at Goldmann Field completely deflated.

Hatton pitcher Greg Thompson limited Beulah to four hits in an 8-1 complete-game win to eliminate the host team and advance to the semifinals, where the Flyers will face Grafton at 5 p.m. today.

“It seemed like we lacked a little bit of intensity at times,” Beulah coach Ryan Bodell said. “I didn’t really expect that. But you know what, that’s a good team and they came out and showed it. I’d say they beat us in every aspect of the game.”

For Beulah and Hatton, their state tournament experiences couldn’t be more different.

The Cyclones (18-11) opened the tournament with an eight-inning, walk-off win against LaMoure before losing on a walk-off single to Grafton on Thursday.

The Flyers (26-9), meanwhile, lost their opener handily to Cando and trailed Enderlin 6-1 early in a loser-out game Thursday before eventually winning 20-8 in six innings. In its past 11 innings, Hatton has tallied 27 of 30 runs scored.

“After starting slow yesterday, we told ourselves we’re not going to do the same thing today,” Thompson said. “We were going to put the ball in play and make good things happen.”

After neither pitcher gave up a hit in the first two innings, Hatton began making “good things happen” – or allowing them to happen.

The Flyers scored two runs in the top of the third on two singles, two walks and a hit batter.

In the fourth, Hatton added another run on a single, two walks and a hit batter with the bases loaded. Left-handed reliever Brett Koch came in for starting pitcher Pat Becker and escaped a bases-loaded jam with one out, but the damage was already done.

Becker struggled with his control, dealing five walks and hitting two batters in 3 1/3 innings.

Hatton extended its lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning, and added four runs on four hits and an error in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

Bodell said he’s disappointed, but proud of his kids.

“We had a good season,” he said. “We were a little inconsistent at times, but when we put it together we had a good team. I think we showed that in the sectional and in our first two games of the state tourney. I thought we put up good fights.”

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