NDAPSSA recognizes talent with Dakota and non-school awards
FARGO — A professional golfer from Fargo, an American Legion baseball team from Fargo and its coach and an American Legion baseball player from Thompson received year-end awards from the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Tom Hoge, a Fargo South High School graduate who has been on the Professional Golf Association Tour for the last six years, was named the winner of the Dakota Award – which annually goes to a North Dakotan who had outstanding achievements outside the state.
The Fargo Post 2 American Legion baseball team, which placed runnerup in the Legion World Series, was named the non-school team of the year award while its manager Luke Rustad was named the non-school coach of the year award. Marcus Hughes of the Thompson Legion baseball team was named the non-school athlete of the year award.
Dakota Award: Tom Hoge
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the stoppage of the PGA Tour in March came at an unfortunate time for Hoge, who was enjoying his best first-half of the season in his six full years on the tour.
Prior to the stoppage, Hoge ranked 23rd on the PGA money list at $1,716,865. He had three top-10 finishes with a runner-up to his credit in the first tournament of the season at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
Hoge ranked 22nd in the FedEx Cup Standings, important status for retaining his tour card and earning his way into invitational tournaments. He recently received a call from Steve Stricker, the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup, to let Hoge know he is on the radar in making the team. The Ryder Cup is Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits, located north of Milwaukee, Wis., on Lake Michigan.
Other Dakota Award finalists were: Amy Olson, an LPGA golfer from Fargo; Cameron Morman, a professional rodeo steer wrestler from Glen Ullin and Andrew Towne, a rower from Grand Forks.
Non-school team: Fargo Legion baseball
In the 91-year history of Fargo American Legion baseball, no Post 2 team had ever reached the championship game of the Legion World Series.
That was until last August when Post 2 became the third team to advance to the World Series and the first to reach the title game. In the tournament played in Shelby, N.C., Post 2 worked its way through the loser bracket to play Idaho Falls in the championship game.
Post 2 had a 2-1 lead when a Tuesday night, rain-suspended game resumed on a Wednesday morning. Post 2 loaded the bases twice but was unable to score, eventually losing 5-3.
Post 2, who lost to the same Idaho Falls team 7-3 in the opening round, finished the season with a 54-8 record.
The other non-school team finalist was Thompson’s Legion baseball team.
Non-school athlete: Marcus Hughes
Hughes came up big on the mound and at the plate in leading Thompson to its third straight Class B American Legion state baseball championship.
Hughes pitched a no-hitter, striking out eight, as Thompson beat Carrington 6-0 in the second round of the state tournament. He followed that by driving in the game-winning run as Thompson scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Fargo Bombers 3-2. Hughes had two hits and scored three runs as Thompson beat Carrington 15-5 in the state final.
Hughes was named most valuable player in the state tournament.
The right-hander also threw a 2-hitter in a 1-0 win against Park River in a matchup of unbeatens in the District 5 tournament.
Non-school coach: Luke Rustad
In his eighth season as the Fargo Post 2 American Legion baseball coach, Rustad had his most successful season as his team posted a 54-8 record enroute to a second-place finish at the Legion World Series.
“Being here was quite surreal,” said Luke Rustad, who has compiled a 363-113 record and five state titles in his eight seasons. “I hope our kids look at themselves and realize that Fargo Post 2 can compete with anybody in the nation. We are just that type of baseball program. This is something that isn’t just talked about but can be achieved.”
Other finalists for the non-school coach award were: Ryne Dolleslager, Thompson Legion baseball and Josh Allmaras, Kindred Legion baseball.