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Heart River’s defense unravels against Beulah 

“We struggled in the field, that has kind of been a little bit of an achilles heel as of late,” Kurt Silbernagel, Cougars head coach, said.

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Heart River fall to Beulah in doubleheader on Tuesday, May 2.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Belfield, N.D. — The Heart River Cougars (2-3, 3-6) dropped the ball — quite literally — with fielding errors enroute to taking back-to-back losses against the Beulah Miners (2-3, 4-7) on their home field Tuesday.

It started with a region game, ending 11-5 that hinted towards a rally for the Cougars, but would never materialize; Game two had a similar result of 12-5, counting only to their overall record.

A range of variables kept Heart River off balance against their Region 8 counterpart, but it was their defense that failed to keep them in the game.

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Luke Obrigewitch(6) catches popout.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“We struggled in the field, that has kind of been a little bit of an achilles heel as of late,” Kurt Silbernagel, Cougars head coach, said. “A few errors on their part helps us out to get a few runs, but that is baseball. Sometimes you got to scratch and claw a few runs across. It is not always just three or four hits strung together.”

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Beulah catcher over throws snap throw.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The Miners had a 4-1 lead by the end of the third inning, extending it by three at the top of the fifth. The Cougars started to inch towards a rally, after loading bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. They made a bad trade, scoring a run off a Beulah double play, followed by senior Austin Buckman advancing home from third base after a passed ball.

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Heart River would grab two more runs in the sixth due to errors and had runners on the corners, but the Miners responded with a smart snap throw play from the catcher to the pitcher and then to third base. The high IQ play closed out the inning and effectively sealed the door shut on a Cougar rally.

“You have to be ready for that snap throw to the shortstop or pitchers that try to catch you jumping on a stolen base,” Silbernagel said. “We got picked off and it killed our rallying and then the errors started happening again in the seventh and was a little too big of a hole to dig out of.”

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Mellmer gets the nod as relief pitcher, to defend their lead.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Beulah collected four more runs at the top of the seventh inning, with big hits paired with fielding errors and Heart River unable to respond. In total, the Miners had 14 hits against Cougars pitcher Mason Kessel.

Game two would be called after the fifth inning, with the Miners pulling off a 10-run rule game, with a big six-run fourth inning. Despite Heart River taking the initial lead, 2-0, and being able to outhit Beulah, 10-7, they could not sort out their defensive errors. Walks would also give away easy runs to the Miners. The Cougars had three pitchers in the game that amassed six walks and six earned runs.

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Conner Honeyman(7) crosses home plate ecstatic.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Heart River had some good hits, Jordan Koppinger led, going 3-for-3, hitting a double and collecting two RBIs. Jordan Jung followed in hits, going 2-for-3.

“We are starting to put the ball in play a little bit better,” Silbernagel said. “Baseball is one of those sports where you don't have to swing hard.” Silbernagel “You just go with the pitch, if you swing level good things are going to happen and that is one of the positives taken away from todays.”

Silbernagel gave proper recognition to the Beulah team and is now wanting to see how his team will react. Heart River will have another home doubleheader on Thursday against Hazen, who are currently 2-2 in the region. With Shiloh Christian dominating the region with their unblemished record, the fight is on for the rest of the programs to show up and to be ready come the region tournament.

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Jordan Koppinger gets the out at first.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

“A little slice of humble pie isn't the worst thing in the world either, coming off of a dominating Babe Ruth year where we were bigger and stronger than a lot of the teams we played. Well these other teams are starting to catch up, so we got to start playing smart baseball and do the little things right,” Silbernagel said. “Shiloh is the big dog on the block, but the last couple seasons we have had so much parity in this region. Last year’s regional tournament, anybody could have come out of there. It is like the old saying, ‘It's not how you start, it's how you finish.’”

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Beulah 11, Heart River 5
BLHV 121 030 4 — 11 14 6
HRTR 100 022 0 — 5 4 7

Hitting
HRTR: Buckman 1-2, SB; Walter 1-3, HBP; Kessel 1-4; Honeyman 1-3.
BLHV: Skalsky 3-5, 3RBI; Klindworth 2-5, 2RBIs, 2B(2); Mellmer 2-4, 2B; Soine 1-5; Brewster1-3, RBI; Steffan 2-4, SB; Strommen 2-3, 2B, SB.

Pitching
HRTR: Kessel 7IP, 14H, 11R, 3ER, 2BB, 1K.
BLHV: Soine (WP) 5IP, 2H, 4R, 2ER, 4BB, 5K; Mellmer 2IP, 2H, 1R, 1BB.

Beulah 12, Heart River 5
BLHV 031 62X X — 12 7 1
HRTR 200 03X X — 5 10 4

Hitting
HRTR: Buckman(P) 1-3, RBI; Walter 1-2, SB; Koppinger 3-3, 2 RBIs, 2B, SB; Jung 2-3, SB; Kessel 1-2, SB; Stevens 1-3, RBI; 1-3 Zacher, 2RBIs.
BLHV: Skalsky 1-4; Schirado 1-2, 4RBIs, 3SB; Kriegel 1-2, RBI; Weidner 2-4, RBI, SB; Strommen 1-3; Hinker 1-1, SB.

Pitching
HRTR: Buckman 3IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 3K; Walter .1IP, 3H, 6R, 1ER, 1BB,1K; Zacher 1.2 IP, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 3K.
BLHV: Hinker (WP) 5IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 3K.

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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