The final day of the 2023 Midwest Plains 13-15 Babe Ruth Regional tournament took place last Sunday at Tony Kawlewski Field in Henning. The final four teams had some things in common, as all came from either North Dakota or Minnesota. The semi-final matchups were both in state battles as Park River and Williston of North Dakota took on each other at 10 a.m. and Fergus Falls and Moorhead of Minnesota battled it out at 1 p.m.
Game 1 of the day featured state champions from North Dakota. Williston represented North Dakota as the Class A State Champion and Park River represented North Dakota as the Class B Champions. Park River came out on top in the battle of North Dakota to advance to the championship game, winning by a score of 8-2.
The second game of the day featured a familiar battle between I-94 rivals in Minnesota, as state champion Moorhead took on Runner-Up Fergus Falls. The two teams battled in a low scoring pitcher’s duel.
Moorhead ended up on the winning end of things, defeating Fergus Falls 4-2 and advancing to the championship game against Park River.
Prior to the final game of the 2023 Midwest Plains Babe Ruth Regional Tournament, the Norm and Colleen Travis Sportsmanship Award was presented by state commissioner Todd Corrow. The Norm and Colleen Travis Sportsmanship Award is given to a team that demonstrates and executes the Sportsmanship Code of Babe Ruth League, Inc. It is named for longtime Babe Ruth official Norm Travis, who served in administrative roles in the Babe Ruth League for over 50 years. Travis was inducted into the Babe Ruth League Hall of Fame in 2010. His wife Colleen was always by his side during his tenure as Regional Commissioner and enjoyed the game of baseball as much as Norm.
The Midwest Plains Babe Ruth Regional Norm and Colleen Travis Sportsmanship Award was given to the Otter Tail Central Bulldog community for their upstanding sportsmanship on and off the field, hosting a tournament and making everyone feel like they were at home while in Henning.
Commissioner Todd Corrow has also given out Commissioner Challenge Coins throughout the tournament. The Commissioner’s Coin is similar to the challenge coins that military branches give out. It recognizes individuals that do positive things and bring positivity and leadership to their teams both on and off the field. A couple more coins were given out, as Park River’s Reeves Jorgenson received one. Commissioner Corrow also presented Tony Kawlewski with a coin for his dedication to OTC baseball. Kawlewski could be seen taking in game throughout the weekend, even when OTC wasn’t playing.
Otter Tail Central also presented a local family with a donation. Tyler Hawes was one of the officers injured in a police shooting in Fargo on July 14, 2023. OTC donated all tips from the concession stand to help the family with Tyler’s medical needs. OTC held a raffle for a donated Louisville Slugger bat specially designed with the 2023 Midwest Plains Regional wording. The winner of the raffle opted to donate the bat back to the Hawes’ family. The final four teams as well as Otter Tail Central signed the bat and presented the bat and donated tips to Tyler’s in-laws in an emotional ceremony before the championship game.
The championship game between Moorhead, Minn. and Park River, N.D. did not disappoint as the two strong teams battled for a trip to Jamestown, N.Y. to represent their communities, states, and the Midwest Plains Region in the Babe Ruth World Series. Jake Solseng started on the mound for Park River and Carson Heinsch started on the mound for Moorhead.
Moorhead got the scoring started in the bottom of the 2nd inning, putting up a 4 spot on Park River. Park River responded by cutting the lead in half in the top of the third inning, making the lead 4-2. Moorhead put across 2 unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 6-2 in favor of Moorhead.
Moorhead starting pitcher Carson Heinsch kept Park River in check, until Park River started a rally in the top of the sixth inning and Heinsch hit the pitch limit, giving way to reliever Jett Feeney. Park River put across 3 runs to cut the lead to 6-5. However, Moorhead hung on for the win, defeating Park River 6-5. Tucker Omdahl and Jackson Omdahl provided relief for Solseng in the loss. Heinsch picked up the win, while Solseng took the loss.
Players of the game for Moorhead were Riley Dickhaus on offense and starting pitcher Carson Heinsch and shortstop Conner Zimmerman on defense. For Park River, they were led on offense by Jack Langerud and Jake Solseng and on defense by Trace Anderson and Jackson Omdahl, each earning player of the game honors.
Moorhead will represent the Midwest Plains Region in the Babe Ruth World Series, which will be held from August 10-20 in Jamestown, N.Y.
All Tournament Team
Ayden Olson, Otter Tail Central
Ryan Despard, Otter Tail Central
Lawson Oliphant, Breckenridge
Gavin Hoffert, Breckenridge
Brayson Green, Charleston, Mo.
Jamison Sifford, Charleston, Mo.
Zander Polk, Border, Colo.
Tate Renquist, Border, Colo.
Caleb Bernal, Williston, N.D.
Jaxon Jeannotte, Williston, N.D.
Justin Irgens, Williston, N.D.
Micah Johnson, Fergus Falls
Hunter Powers, Fergus Falls
Jacob Fronning, Fergus Falls
Trace Anderson, Park River, N.D.
Jake Solseng, Park River, N.D.
Reeves Jorgensen, Park River, N.D.
Andrew Zikmund, Park River, N.D.
Taye Reich, Moorhead
Jaimeson Dunlap, Moorhead
Riley Dickhaus, Moorhead
Conner Zimmerman, Moorhead
Brayden Kvamme, Moorhead
Carson, Heinsch, Moorhead