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Thompson baseball off to 10-0 start to open bid for three-peat

Apr. 23—THOMPSON — Thompson baseball coach Nate Soulis hasn't been pleased with his defense lately, racking up a few errors the past few games.

"We've kicked it around a little bit," Soulis said. "The guys know they have to clean it up."

The offense, meanwhile, is nearly impossible to critique.

"We've had it going one through nine," Soulis said. "We've done a great job at the bottom of the order setting it up for our top of the order to cash in again."

The Tommies' offense has powered Thompson to a 10-0 start to the season in a bid for a third-consecutive North Dakota Class B state championship this spring.

The Tommies are hitting .365 as a team and have three regulars batting better than .425.

"We have lots of confidence in our offense right now," Soulis said. "We're doing it every game, for the most part. It's something you hope you can continue to count on."

Thompson has scored at least seven runs in every game this season and triggered the 10-run rule four times.

The Tommies most recently swept Roseau, one of the top teams in Northwest Minnesota. Thompson also holds a win over Class A Grand Forks Central.

Leadoff hitter Thomas Schumacher is batting .394 with a .512 on-base percentage.

In the No. 3 slot in the order, Brayden Wolfgram is hitting .455.

That production at the top of the order has set the stage for Will Welke, who's batting .485 with an impressive 20 RBIs. Welke is hitting .600 with runners in scoring position.

It's the second-straight season the Tommies have had Schumacher, Wolfgram and Welke hitting in the heart of the order.

Overall, Thompson is replacing one or two starters — depending on the lineup — from last season's state championship team.

Wolfgram and Schumacher are in their fourth year of playing for the Tommies.

"They've started every game or dang near every game," Soulis said. "They're just leaning so heavily on experience. You can see the IQ. They know the game. They see it happen before it happens. Credit to them and knowing the game."

In addition to Welke and Wolfgram hitting over .400, Braden Tyce is batting .429. Jordan Gustafson is hitting .368, while Drew Overby is batting .357 and Brody Gibson is at .333.

The biggest adjustment for the Tommies in 2024 is at the top of the pitching rotation. Thompson was a heavy 1-2 punch last year with Wolfgram and the now-graduated Reece Berberich.

However, Thompson has seen Drew Odenbach emerge as the new 1-2 punch with Wolfgram.

Odenbach has a 1.30 ERA, while Wolfgram is at 0.50. Tyce is at a 1.86 ERA. All three pitchers are 3-0.

"(Wolfgram) is such a calming factor for a lot of our team, just the way he goes about his game," Soulis said. "When he gets in a groove, games can be over pretty quick. He doesn't waste many pitches."

Odenbach has 22 strikeouts and Wolfgram has 21.