WEST FARGO - James Kary was the only Dickinson pitcher to beat Williston in the teams' four regular season meetings, so choosing a game one starter for the state tournament was an easy decision for coach Cory Hansen.
Kary, a Minot State University signee, more than validated the decision Tuesday. The right-hander tossed a four-hitter and drove in three runs to lead the No. 8 Roughriders to an 11-1 win over the No. 9 Keybirds in the first round of the American Legion Class A State Tournament.
Dickinson (23-22) advances to meet host West Fargo, the No. 1 seed, at 8 p.m. tonight. Williston (17-26) is one game away from elimination and will play the loser of No. 3 Grand Forks and No. 6 Wahpeton at 2 p.m. Thursday. Grand Forks and Wahpeton play at 1:45 p.m. today.
Dickinson ace James Kary delivers a pitch in the Roughriders 11-1 win over Williston in the first round of the American Legion Class A State Tournament on Tuesday in West Fargo. Kary held the Keybirds to four hits though eight complete innings and was one of two Roughriders with three RBIs.
"It's always positive when you get the nod," Kary said. "I was a little nervous coming into the first inning, left a couple 0-2 pitches over the plate. But thankful the first inning didn't burn me too much."
Kary (3-5) gave up an RBI double to Lane Huck in the opening frame, but went on to retire 10 straight batters through the fourth inning. Dickinson chased Williston starter Trenten Hove from the game after a four-run first inning led by Kary's double, which brought in the first two runs.
"(Kary) did an exceptional job today," Hansen said. "He's pitched very well all year and we haven't given him any support. He's probably got our best ERA (2.30 entering the game) of the team and worst record because we haven't given him any support whatsoever."
Dickinson outhit Williston 13-4 and the Roughriders widened the gap to 6-1 in the sixth inning. Kary and Mark Erickson had RBI singles to rattle reliever Seth Falcon, who held the Roughriders scoreless in his first four innings.
The game ended by run rule in a five-run eighth inning capped by Dylan Skabo's three-run double. Skabo finished 3 for 6 with a triple, double and one run scored. He was the only batter Drew Borseth faced after Jordan Axness gave up the first two runs of the inning and loaded the bases.
"Dickinson did what a good team does. They just kept adding on," Williston coach Greg McNary said. "We really struggled throwing the ball over the plate tonight. I couldn't hardly believe it. We usually throw strikes pretty well."
The Keybirds' four pitchers walked 10 batters combined. McNary said Hove was the only one of the four to face Dickinson in the regular season and that appearance was a single inning of relief.
"Poor defense goes hand-and-hand with guys going for ball three, ball four, ball three, ball four," McNary said. "You know, guys get a little tighter out there, but there's no excuses. Dickinson just outplayed us in every phase of the game and tip your hat to Kary because he dominated us after that first inning."
Kary walked just one batter and hit one batter - Isaac Erickson to start the game. Erickson scored, but only two more Keybirds reached scoring position following the first inning.
"I was able to keep a pretty good hitting team off balance by throwing three pitches for strikes," said Kary, who used a fastball, changeup and slider.
The No. 5 Minot Vistas (24-20) play No. 4 Fargo (37-17) to open play at 11 a.m. today. Hunter Oothoudt will start for the Vistas. Fargo swept Minot in a doubleheader Saturday. The losses, which counted toward the state standings, dropped Minot from a possible No. 2 seed.
Tim Chapman covers the Vistas and Minot High School athletics. Follow him on