2nd straight tourney appearance for Hornets

Harvey-Wells County baseball has six state tournament appearances to its name, but over the past two seasons, the Hornets are 2-for-2.

In 2013, H-WC was handed a difficult first-round matchup against eventual champion Central Cass, leading to an early exit from the championship bracket. The Hornets recovered quickly, winning both of their final games to claim fifth.

Now the Hornets are back, on the heels of their second consecutive Region 5 championship, aiming for another shot at the title. They play fourth-seeded Velva-Drake-Anamoose today in the last of four first-round games at Cushman Field in Jamestown. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

“We’ve been at the state tournament three out of the last five years,” H-WC coach Chuck Nyhus said, “so we don’t feel as if we’re in an underdog position by any means. Having experience is a good thing for us.”

With eight seniors on their roster the most of any team in the tournament H-WC enters this weekend’s play as arguably the most experienced group of the bunch.

Seven of the Hornets’ nine 2013 starters returned to the team this season, including senior Mark Nyhus, who leads the team in batting average at .644 batting average – 220 percentage points higher than any teammate.

Nyhus has also been H-WC’s most effective pitcher. With an unblemished 5-0 record through a team-high 35 innings, he has conceded just seven earned runs all year, culminating in a 1.80 ERA.

The Hornets swept their way through the Region 5 tournament, a run which ended with a 6-4 win over Bottineau in the championship.

Chuck Nyhus is confident in his team’s chances this weekend.

“We have a good attitude and a really good bunch of kids,” he said. “I’m optimistic.”