Sophomore David Ernst pitched Fargo South back into the state championship game on Friday at Jack Brown Stadium in Jamestown.
The hard-throwing right-hander held high-powered Minot in check in a 3-2 semifinal victory, ending the compete-game effort in unconventional fashion.
“The kid just loves to compete. He wants to be out there. He wants to face the best and be the best,” South coach Donn Bryant said.
Tyler Kellen’s go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of sixth inning broke a 2-all tie and Ernst went through the heart of the Magicians’ order in the top of the seventh.
After Kellen singled home Matt Wawers with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth, Ernst had to run the gauntlet in to end it.
After getting No. 2 hitter Alex Fornshell to fly out to right field, Ernst went right after Minot slugger Ryan Bollinger. On a 2-2 pitch, Bollinger hit a screamer back at Ernst, who snared the wicked liner for the second out.
“I walked him twice, he’s good. But I wanted to go after him,” Ernst said.
After getting Bollinger, Darin Back followed with a two-out double to right-center field. But one pitch later, Ernst wheeled and fired to shortstop Brady Horner, catching Back too far off second base. Horner threw to third baseman Casey Olgaard who tagged Back to end the game.