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Nisswa top seed in North Division

Ethan Branum pitched a complete game no-hitter as the Fort Ripley Rebels shut out the Nisswa Lightning 6-0 in Victory League North Division amateur baseball action on Saturday, July 5, in Nisswa.

Despite the loss, the Lightning did clinch the North Division title on Sunday, July 6, when Fort Ripley was defeated by St. Mathias 8-6. That loss left the Rebels tied with the Lightning with 9-2 division records, but Nisswa won the title based on the tiebreaker for compiling a better North record.

"It was huge to win the division," said Lightning manager/player Aaron Jenkins. "We will host our division playoff games, and we automatically advance to the region tournament."

On Saturday, Branum struck out nine and walked five while throwing 142 pitches and only allowed four balls to be hit out of the infield all night.

"Ethan threw a great game," Aaron Jenkins said. "There was not a whole lot we could do about it. We just ran into a tough pitcher, and they made all the plays on defense."

The Lightning manager added that his team did load the bases in the fourth inning after three walks, but failed to score after a pop up ended the threat.

"We couldn't get anything going," Aaron Jenkins said. "It was the first no-hitter thrown against us since we moved to Nisswa. A Moorhead pitcher had a no-hitter in the playoffs against us in 2007 or 2008 when we were the Lakes Area Lightning based out of Brainerd."

Brett Jenkins, who took the loss for the Lightning, allowed five runs in four innings. He was relieved by Kyle Schaible, who surrendered just one run while striking out six in five innings. Billy Sather led the Rebels with two hits.

Nisswa is scheduled to host Cuyuna Range at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, in the first round of the division playoffs. Earlier that day, Fort Ripley is set to play St. Mathias in the other division playoff.