Mandan holds off Sioux Falls East after 2-hour delayA two-hour rain delay didn’t deter the Mandan Chiefs from getting the job done Thursday night in their opening-round game of Central Plains Regional American Legion baseball tournament.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
A two-hour rain delay didn’t deter the Mandan Chiefs from getting the job done Thursday night in their opening-round game of Central Plains Regional American Legion baseball tournament.
The Chiefs used a five-run first inning as a cushion for pitcher Jay Flaa, who struck out nine over eight innings and kept Sioux Falls (S.D.) East under control just enough to help seal a 7-5 victory at Southside Municipal Ballpark.
“That’s baseball in a nutshell isn’t it?” Mandan coach Ryne Jungling said. “Perseverance. That was the key to that game right there. It was a marathon with the rain delay and everything. It’s two good teams that went out and put it all on the field.”
A severe thunderstorm swept through the Dickinson area, causing the game to be suspended in the middle of the seventh inning with Mandan leading 7-5.
The delay began at 7:19 p.m. MDT and the game resumed at 9:21 p.m. The first pitch was thrown at 5:20 p.m. The game ended at 9:52 p.m.
While the game would have been playable in the rain, constant lightning kept delaying it. Legion baseball rules state that a game cannot resume until 30 minutes after lighting has cleared the area surrounding the ballpark.
When the game finally resumed, neither team appeared shaken by the delay.
“This is a pretty loose group,” East coach Brandon Hunt said. “It didn’t really effect us too much. We came out ready to go. I was happy to see the way our guys responded to the rain delay. We came out with a lot of energy and gave ourselves a shot.”
East (37-14) was in the early stages of clawing its way back right as Mother Nature reared its ugly head and nearly fell into the same groove when they went back to the plate in the top of the eighth.
Flaa struck out his ninth batter to open the inning but hit the next two batters and loaded the bases with a four-pitch walk.
East couldn’t get any runs across, however, as leadoff batter Connor Schaefbauer was called out at first trying to leg out a potential run-scoring base hit, ending the inning.
Jacob Friez earned the save for Mandan (34-13), not allowing East a base runner in the ninth inning.
Mandan faces defending region champion Eden Prairie, Minn., at 5 p.m. today in a winner’s-bracket game. East opens play against Grand Island, Neb., at 10 a.m.
Thursday’s game started in near-perfect conditions at 5:10 p.m.
Mandan pulled ahead early, scoring five runs in the first inning.
Dwight Mack, who walked three times in the first six innings and scored each time, plated the Chiefs’ opening run when he walked with the bases loaded.
From there, Trevor Huck added an RBI single to left, Trent Kruckenberg followed with a two-run single to right and Tanner Schaf had a base hit to left field to put Mandan ahead 5-0.
“That first inning, there’s a lot of nerves and jitters flying around,” Flaa said. “Especially the game after that opening ceremony. But after that, we came out with a nice start. It was game time then.”
East began battling back in the third with four runs, capped by Jon Hander’s two-run double, to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 5-4. East opened the inning with a pair of runs on a single by Brooks Cross and Alex Schultz’s double to the right-field fence that scored Cross.
However, an East error contributed to Mandan’s next run in the fourth.
Mack scored from second base after Cross, East’s catcher, had a throw down to first base ricochet off Huck’s helmet and into foul territory.
“We didn’t have some things go our way,” Hunt said.
Friez added an RBI double in the fifth that scored Mack, making it 7-4.
East’s Connor Schaefbauer added a run on wild pitch in the top of the seventh.
One out later, the game was suspended.
East starting pitcher Jordan Schievelbein gave up seven hits over five innings but got out of jams and stranded 10 Mandan base runners. In the second when he walked three Chiefs batters, but left all three stranded.
He was relieved by Michael Hout in the sixth. Hout kept Mandan off balance the rest of the way, giving up his only run on Friez’s double.
Hunt said he intends to put ace Alex Schultz in today’s game.
“This is a positive group,” Hunt said. “We don’t look at things in a negative tone if our back’s against the wall.”
SFE 004 000 100 — 5 7 1
Mandan 500 101 00x — 7 10 2
Jordan Schievelbein, Michael Hout (6) and Brooks Cross. Jay Flaa, Jacob Friez (9) and Dwight Mack. W–Flaa. L–Schievelbein. S–Friez.
Highlights: SFE, Cross 2-for-5, RBI, run; Schultz 2-for-5, RBI, run; Jon Hander 1-for-4, 2 RBI; Austin Ridl 1-for-3; Jack Gordon 1-for-3. Mandan, Brent Stoltz 1-for-4; Aaron Janz 3-for-5; Mack 0-for-2, 3 BB, 3 runs, RBI; Trevor Huck 2-for-4, RBI, run; Friez 1-for-4, RBI; Trent Kruckenberg 1-for-4, 2 RBI; Tanner Schaf 2-for-3, RBI; Flaa 8 IP, 9 K, 4 BB, 5 ER, 7 H.
Records: SFE 37-14, Mandan 34-13.