Langdon comes alive late, defeats Velva 8-0
After working through a slow start, Simon Romfo and the Langdon Red Sox asserted their dominance at Corbett Field.
Romfo pitched five innings of quality work in Langdon’s 8-0 victory over the Velva 39ers in the first round of the Class B Independent State Tournament. Although the 10-man Red Sox rallied for the convincing win in crunch time, Romfo noted areas for improvement.
“We had a few more opportunities to score early,” he said. “I think we’ve just got to string more hits together. We had a lot of hits, but we didn’t really string them together until the end. If we can just jump on them early, that will be the biggest thing.”
The Red Sox certainly racked up their fair share of hits — 14, to be exact. Langdon scored just one run in the first four innings, but the Red Sox found another gear in the bottom of the fifth.
Nursing a slim 1-0 lead, Langdon exploded for four runs in that pivotal frame. The Red Sox throttled the ball across the sun-soaked Corbett turf.
Peyton Ullyott capped off the rally with a sharp RBI single off Velva starter Luke Zimmer. Eager to bounce back, Velva loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth inning.
The 39ers came up empty-handed after the Red Sox turned a double play to end the threat. When opportunities for insurance runs became available, Brennan Kitchin and Cooper Zimmer provided run-scoring singles for the Red Sox in the bottom of the sixth frame.
Velva went down in order during the top of the seventh.
“We have a tendency to start slow,” Langdon head coach Tanner Groth said. “I’ve been trying to find ways to get the foot on the gas pedal early and often. Once we get rolling, it’s tough to stop us.”
Groth acknowledged the importance of team camaraderie in postseason play. Because the Red Sox are battle-tested in other sports, they do not succumb to the big stage.
“All of these kids are multi-sport athletes,” Groth said. “I think it shows that chemistry really rolls over into the baseball season. It helps build that competitive drive.”
Five Langdon players finished with at least two hits. Ullyott produced a 2-for-4 performance and knocked in two runs.
Gage Florence recorded two of Velva’s four hits. Tace Pederson and Quintin Peterson tallied the other two.
“When you play the best team in the state, they’re the best team in the state for a reason,” Velva head coach Brent Engebretson said. “We were just talking about it. To win that game, we needed every break to go our way. No breaks went our way. We had three or four opportunities defensively to make a play, and we didn’t make them. They had three or four jams where they needed something to happen, and it did. That’s why they’re moving on and we’re not. I feel no shame in losing to that team. That’s a good baseball team.”
Velva will face Garrison at 3 p.m. this afternoon. Langdon will meet Kidder County in an 8 p.m. semifinal.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.