Minnetonka, MN - A pair of teams sporting 8-0 records squared off in the championship game of the 40th Annual Gopher Classic with Wayzata earning a 3-2 walk off win and back-to-back titles. The Gopher Classic is the largest American Legion baseball tournament in the United States and it closed out another successful weekend of baseball.
West Fargo plated a run with two outs in the first as Tyler Fritz scored on a wild pitch. He reached on a leadoff base hit and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Faircloth. Fritz moved on to third as Denver Blinn fisted one to second base. One pitch later, Wayzata starting pitcher Alec Lonson missed the mark on a wild pitch and Fritz scored for the 1-0 lead.
The Patriots chipped in another run on a double by Andrew Enno. Drake Flesche promptly drove him in with a base hit down the first base line for the 2-0 lead.
West Fargo pitcher Denver Blinn pitched to contact effectively as he struck out 4 Wayzata batters over 6 ⅓ innings of work.
In the fifth inning, Nick Kaye coaxed a walk off Blinn and Thomas Grochala singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Veteran centerfielder Cam Keenan single
d to load the bases with Kaye holding at third base. A sharply hit single by Bobby Isbell scored Kaye. Third baseman Will Oberg was frozen by solid Blinn breaking pitch for strike three to close out the threat in the 5th with West Fargo holding the 2-1 lead.
A common component to Wayzata Legion baseball is they are a team that will always play to the 21st out. They continued to put pressure on West Fargo in the sixth inning that included a Chad Musser single. Jack Rothstein flew out to right field for the inning’s first out and Kaye hit a Texas leaguer to second base advancing Musser to third. Charles Engdahl walked and a wild pitch on ball four scored Musser to tie the game at two.
Wayzata picked up where they left off in the bottom half of the seventh inning by loading the bases with a walk to Isbell. Will Oberg crushed a double to right center with Isbell pulling up at third base. A walk to Musser loaded the bases and set the stage for Rothstein who singled to right to score Isbell for the game winning walk off hit off West Fargo reliever Tanner Zepeda.