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Hagen hits game-winning RBI to propel Davies over Mandan at state baseball

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FARGO — No matter if it's batting or pitching, Matt Hagen likes to be in clutch situations.

Hagen took the mound and got Fargo Davies through the seventh inning in a tied game. Then he stepped up to the plate and hit a game-winning RBI to propel the No. 1-seeded Eagles to a 5-4 win over West Region No. 4-seeded Mandan in the North Dakota Class A state baseball quarterfinals on Thursday, May 31, at Newman Outdoor Field.

"Everything is running through your head," Hagen said. "You just have to stay calm and produce for the team."

Jonathan Brooks got the scoring going with an RBI sacrifice fly to gives the Eagles (19-7) an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Then after three scoreless innings, Connor Seefeld drove in a run in the top of the fifth to tie it up for Mandan (11-12).

In the bottom of the fifth, Zach Kluvers tallied an RBI and Kobe Senn drove in two runs on a single to right field to get Davies up 4-1.

"I didn't get worried the whole game because I knew we were a good enough team to win the game," said Senn, who finished the game 3-for-4. "I was just trying to hit, saw a pitch that felt good and drove it to right field. It feels good to get the win."

But the Braves didn't go away. Mandan's Jackson Zittleman and Quinn Halstengard reached base by separate errors and they both scored on a third error to get Mandan within a run in the sixth.

Parret left the game after six full innings having given up four runs, two of them earned, six hits and he struck out six batters and walked two. Mandan's Noah Gerhardt pitched five innings, allowed four earned runs, seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts.

But Zittleman drove in a run to tie the game at 4 in a seventh inning that saw two Eagles errors to force the bottom of the seventh.

"They have the momentum going so you just have to do your best to stop it," Hagen said. "We've just got to keep fighting. We can't give up. If we give up, it's over. There goes the season."

Hagen felt nervous as he stepped into the batter's box with a runner in scoring position. But he felt up to the challenge as soon as he saw the first pitch — he knew it was his. He hit the first pitch of his at-bat for the game-winning RBI and to send the Eagles to the state semifinals. After losing in the semis last year, Hagen hopes to make good on getting there this time.

"We came up a little bit short last year," Hagen said. "It gives us that much more motivation to pull through this year and win the state title."

M 000 012 1--4 8 0

FD 100 030 1--5 9 5

Gerhardt, Schmidt (6) and Zander. Parrett, Hagen (7) and Kluvers. W--Hagen. L--Schmidt.

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