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No. 1 Velva reigns supreme in 16-5 victory over No. 4 Harvey

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Velva catcher Ricky Gonzales throws the ball to first base during the Class B Independent District 3 Tournament on Monday in Velva. The 39ers captured a 16-5 win over Harvey.

VELVA — Once Velva’s offense got going, the 39ers kept the line moving.

Velva struck early and often in Monday’s second-round game against Harvey in the Class B Independent District 3 Tournament. Playing as the host, the No. 1-seeded 39ers seized a convincing 16-5 victory over the No. 4-seeded Snot Otters in five innings.

“We’ve been waiting for that,” Velva head coach Brent Engebretson said. “We can’t stop today. That’s our big thing.”

Harvey scored one run on Hunter Schuh’s RBI single in the top of the first inning. Velva’s Quintin Peterson responded with a run-scoring single of his own in the bottom of that frame.

In the bottom of the second inning, the floodgates creaked open. After Michael Thomas scored on an error and Gage Florence ripped a deep RBI double to the outfield. Gunnar Mogen’s sharp knock down the third-base line preceded Tace Pederson’s run-scoring drive to the right-center gap.

After tossing a scoreless third inning on the mound, Mogen helped his cause with a bases-clearing double. From there, the 39ers scored six more runs in their half of the inning.

Although those runs did not arrive in glamorous fashion, Velva stayed focused on the task at hand. The ground balls and line drives forced the Snot Otters to make plays in the field.

As the dust settled, the 39ers held a convincing 14-1 lead.

“Everybody got on the sticks,” Florence said. “Huge jump. It’s always good to get runs right away.”

The Snot Otters scored a run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth, but Florence drove in two more runs with a single. Merry attitudes filled the first-base dugout as the margin widened.

“It’s tourney time,” Florence said. “Obviously, you’re going to bring more energy. Everyone is all hyped up to play. Coming in as the No. 1 seed, we really want to come out and win this thing. Everybody is really jacked up to play.”

Harvey tallied three more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Although the Snot Otters found a rhythm at the plate, Velva’s lead loomed too large. After the game concluded, Engebretson praised Mogen’s work on the hill.

“Gunnar does such a good job of throwing strikes and not giving extra base runners through walks,” Engebretson said. “When we make plays behind him, we’re pretty good. I thought we were pretty good today.”

In the first game of tournament play, Harvey defeated No. 5-seeded Bottineau in a 14-6 contest. While reflecting on the action at Buen Field, Snot Otters head coach Brandon Storbeck spotted areas for improvement.

“We had a few mental errors and fielding errors (against Velva),” he said. “We had a few too many strikeouts where we could have battled a bit more.”

The 39ers showed no signs of rust after a brief hiatus.

“We needed that,” Engebretson said. “We talked about that. We haven’t played for a while. We lost a few games due to reschedules and rainouts. So, we were pretty excited to play today.”

The tournament continues today. Velva will face Cando at noon for a spot in the championship game, while Harvey will meet Rolla at approximately 2:30 p.m. in a loser-out contest.

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.

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