Last year, John Desaulniers led a team from Fargo, N.D. to a second-place finish at the ‘AA’ World Series, losing 2-0 to a powerhouse team from Madison, Wis.
Along the way, he was named as one of the two selections as first-team, all-world pitcher.
But this year was a different story for the hard-throwing right-hander, who plies his trade during the regular season with the Pinewood Bears of the Rainy River District Fastball League.
Fargo, which also boasted the services of Thunder Bay native Brooks Swanson on the mound, went 4-2 at this year’s World Series--held last month in Albuquerque, N.M.--but were ousted from the tournament after an 8-4 loss to another Wisconsin squad.
“We had better defence but a lot less sticks,” said Desaulniers, in his third year with the Fargo team. “We couldn’t hit the ball and we haven’t been hitting for the last month.
“The bats have been flat. We’ve been getting guys on base but we’ve been failing to get the key hit,” he noted.
Desaulniers was disappointed with the team’s hitting despite scoring 29 runs in five games. He felt they could have scored plenty more--especially since they were getting guys on base to start innings.
Fargo opened the tournament with a win over Oklahoma by default, lost 6-2 to a Canadian team from Oakville, and then won a wild 10-8 decision over a team from host New Mexico to stave off elimination in the preliminary round.
Desaulniers pitched four complete innings in that one, leaving the game when it was tied 6-6.
Fargo then beat teams from Idaho (6-4) and Ohio (7-2) before losing to Wisconsin to be eliminated from further contention.
“We did OK,” Desaulniers reasoned. “We were less happy with the schedule the last three days. You shouldn’t need more than two pitchers but we played three games back-to-back in 95 F heat.
“In the game we lost, we were playing our third game while they were playing their first,” he noted.
Fargo was coming off a 1-2 finish at the recent ISC fastpitch championships in Sioux City, Iowa.
They opened with a tight 3-2 loss to the host Sioux City Huskies, downed Pueblo, Colo. 5-1, but then were ousted with a 2-0 loss to a team from Wisconsin.