Langdon/Edmore/Munich continues 2021 championship season with chance to repeat in 2022
LANGDON – If you thought it was a coincidence, it could have certainly come off as such.
A 2021 postseason run that inevitably ended with winning the NDHSAA Class B Baseball State Tournament would not have occurred for the Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich Cardinals if they first did not take care of business against the Grafton Spoilers. And take care of business the Cardinals did. In two 2021 Region IV Tournament games against them, the Cardinals outscored the Spoilers, 19-7, and swept them in two straight contests.
Fans might have noticed a similar development trending in an all-too-familiar direction during the 2022 postseason campaign. After dispatching the Spoilers, 10-1, on May 25, the Cardinals went into their May 26 bout with a chance to beat Grafton for the fourth time in as many tries (dating back to the 2021 Class Region IV Baseball Tournament). The Cardinals would then have an opportunity to run it back at the looming state tournament.
However, there is no such thing as a walk in the park. Grafton certainly thought that. This was exactly why they wouldn’t go away quietly. A 7-1 lead in Grafton’s favor through two+ innings Thursday afternoon put the Cardinals in a pickle, and it was up to the latter to respond in full. That is if they wanted to avoid playing a second game against the same Grafton team in what would have been a do-or-die game with state tournament aspirations on the line.
Former coincidence, however, has seen the Cardinals claw back in the few games they have played from behind. And that coincidence revealed itself once more. Instead of playing toward the second game, the Cardinals got busy and inevitably beat Grafton, 17-9, in a slugfest that netted them another state tournament berth.
“More than anything, it is kind of [a] relief,” Langdon/Edmore/Munich head coach Joshua Krivarchka said after the game. “Wasn’t a very well-played game by either team and, you know, just finding a way to win, just competing the whole game and finally getting that final out. [It] seemed like a long baseball game, and I don’t think either team played particularly well, but, you know, any time you have to win a region championship, you have to be happy for the kids. They have put in a lot of time this year and over the course of their careers, and I’m just happy for them.”
In terms of in-game adjustments, Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich third baseman/pitcher Jack Romfo believed that, as a team, the Cardinals responded more in full as the game progressed.
The offensive end of the game certainly illustrated as such. The Cardinals scored four runs or more in three innings (six in the third, six in the fifth and four in the sixth) and continued to chip away at the five separate Grafton pitchers that took the mound.
To Romfo, the defining factor came from each batter taking after the other.
“It was pretty important to get on each other because every single link in the batting order matters,” Romfo said after the game. “Get one guy on, get another guy on and the cycle just keeps going. You have to carry the momentum, keep scoring...the most important thing is, if you are up by a little or you tie it, you can’t stop there. You have to keep going.”
“That’s a big thing,” Krivarchka said. “We like to get on base. We feel like we have lots of team speed, and we like to move people around, and I thought we did a good job of bunting, running a few different squeeze plays and really making them work. That’s what we need to do. I mean, that’s high school baseball at its best right there. I thought we did a great job of that today.”
The pitching side of the equation didn’t bear the juiciest of fruit to open the game. After Tucker Welsh sputtered to a five-walk and six-run finish in only two innings of play, it was a next-man-up philosophy from there on out.
However, similarly to the offense, the pitchers picked up after each other. In the case of their May 26 contest, it was Jack’s younger brother – eighth-grader Theodore Romfo – that stepped up to deliver the winning blow. Following Theodore was Jack, who closed out the game with a spotless seventh inning to clinch the tournament in the Cardinals’ favor.
“Credit to our eighth-grader [Theodore Romfo],” Krivarchka said. “He went out there, and he threw about four solid innings for us…Really, our No. 1, No. 2 guy, he [Welsh] struggled today. He just couldn’t find the zone, and credit to Theo Romfo to go in there and kind of slow them down, and obviously, we knew we still had one more pitcher that was a top pitcher for us, and Jack [Romfo] came in the seventh and closed the door. You always worry about that second championship game, too, so you don’t want to bring him in too early, but just credit to the kids for just competing all game long.”
Perhaps it all revolves back to coincidence. When the pitching struggled, those behind the starter found enough in the tank to make up for it. When the offense stumbled out of the gate, players from top to bottom tacked away.
To Jack, this philosophy will look to do wonders during the 2022 NDHSAA Class B Baseball State Tournament in Fargo (June 2-4).
“I think, just us as a group, having momentum, [and] getting in the other team’s heads,” Romfo said. “We are pretty loud. We are pretty athletic, and we use that to our advantage.”
Perhaps that will not be a coincidence, either.
GRF: 0 5 2 0 0 2 0: 9 12 4
LEM: 0 1 6 0 6 4 x: 17 18 2
- Tucker Welsh: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 1 K, 59 P (29 S)
- Theodore Romfo: W, 4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 70 P (40 S)
- Jack Romfo: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 P (10 S)
- Carter Tetrault: 2-4, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 SB
- Markus Kingzett: 2-3, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB
- Mason Romfo: 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI
- Jack Romfo: 3-5, 3 R, 5 RBI, 1 K, 2 SB
- Tucker Welsh: 2-3 (2 2B), 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB
John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (email@example.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.