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Cougars fall in baseball playoffs

After a slow start, the East Grand Forks Senior High baseball team trailed Mahnomen-Waubun 3-2 after three innings.

Green Wave head coach Garret Hjelle, however, saw the early deficit as a team building experience. 

“It’s always nice to get behind and then come back,” said Hjelle. “It’s something that they can build on and it gives them a little confidence. So they know they can do it.”

Tied at 1-1 in the third, the Cougars scored two runs when Alec Teiken doubled to left to score Cole Thompson, followed by a Jordan Spaeth single that brought home Teiken.

The deficit didn’t seem to bother Wave starting pitcher Donnie Musgrove III. The sophomore didn’t allow another earned run the rest of the way, going six innings and striking out eight batters.

“Donnie is a competitor,” said Hjelle. “He doesn’t get rattled. He didn’t have his best stuff at the start of the game; you could see their guys were hitting him around a bit.

“Once he settled in and found his groove, then he started dealing pretty good.”

After the top of the third, the Green Wave cruised.

Senior High added a run in the third when Taylor Brierley scored on a passed ball.

In the fourth, Musgrove and Micah Friez both scored on Cougar errors as Senior High grabbed a 4-3 lead.

Reed Hjelle extended the lead in the fifth when he doubled to score Trevor Selk and Brierley. Friez was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to add another run, followed by sacrifice flies by Cooper Jerome and Clarke Peterson that scored Ethan Mushitz and Musgrove, respectively.

“Once the kids settled in a little bit and saw the pitcher a couple times, they started putting the ball in play,” Hjelle said. “Once we get our lead-off runner on and start moving guys around the bases, then good things happen.”

Both teams added one run in the sixth, but the Green Wave survived to advance to the north subsection quarterfinals on Thursday against No. 2 seeded Thief River Falls.

“Thief River is a good hitting team; you know they’re going to hit the ball and hit it hard.

“Defensively, as long as we do our job out there and our guys stick with their approach at the plate, that’s all we can do.”