BELFIELD - In their season debut, the Hettinger Post 115 Bears drew first blood against Belfield-South Heart, but the Knights maintained the lead throughout much of the contest.
When Hettinger vaulted back in front, it did so in a big way.
Taking advantage of several miscues by the home team, the Bears put up eight runs in the top of the fifth inning en route to an 11-7 victory on Saturday, June 8, from the John J. Steiner American Legion Ballpark.
After a 20-minute break, the two Class A squads played a shortened game, which Post 115 won 4-2 in three innings to sweep the doubleheader.
"Once we started hitting the ball, it was just kind of a chain reaction," Bears head coach Nolan Dix said. "I think our kids got the momentum and just like with any team, you have one bad inning and it kills your whole game. These kids just kept fighting and they knew they weren't out of it. ... They got a couple of runs here, one run there, and then all of a sudden, we got the lead, you could just see the dugout get a lot more excited."
Down 5-3 entering the top of the fifth, reliever Warrick Dilse led off the inning with a single. Next, catcher Bo Wilson dropped a base hit into center field, but after outfielder Shay Olson misplayed the ball, Dilse came all the way around to make it a one-run deficit.
Third baseman Parker Krebsbach followed with a single, placing runners on first and third. As Brady Senn stood at the dish, Wilson was tagged out trying to steal home, but Krebsbach alertly ran to third. He scored the game-tying run on a passed ball. Reaching on a walk, Senn scored the go-ahead run when outfielder Josh Dix weakly hit a ground ball down the third-base line. Knights infielder Cauy Shypkoski charged at the ball, but made an errant throw toward first.
"It's incredible, it's a fun feeling," Wilson said of the rally. "The guys come to work everyday. It's what we strive for, (to have) innings like those. Getting up ahead when we're down, coming from behind, it's the greatest feeling ever."
With 12 total batters making a plate appearance, the visitors added five more runs in the fifth, aided by two additional Belfield-South Heart errors. Knights starting pitcher Tanner Obrigewitch was pulled during the frame, allowing 10 runs five hits and seven walks; only three runs were earned.
"There's just fundamental baseball things, I mean small things, that Hettinger does that we don't yet," Knights head coach Kurt Silbernagel said. "I think talent-wise, we're right there with them. We played with them, Tanner Obrigewitch threw a great game, but we had that one inning where the wheels come off for a little bit and some things go wrong. Sometimes, we don't pay attention when we should be, it snowballs and we can't have that."
Starting at shortstop, Jacob Svihovec led off game one with a walk. Stealing second and third, he gave the Bears a 1-0 advantage after a sacrifice fly from starting pitcher Mason Defoe. The home team answered in the bottom of the second.
Swinging at Defoe's first offering, second baseman Tyler Kastrow looked toward the head coach for instruction. On the next pitch, Kastrow cranked his first Legion home run, a solo shot to left-center field that kicked off a four-run frame.
"Coach was kind of saying to get on the ball, make contact with it. I kind of just lifted it up and it went," Kastrow said. "He threw a curveball and it swooped down, I got a hold of it and it went."
In game two, Post 115 jumped ahead with four runs in the top of the first against starting pitcher Ian Silbernagel.
In the bottom of the third, Tyler Johnson singled and went to second on the throw. He put Post 144 on the board following a Hettinger error. Olson made it 4-2 when his RBI double scored Silbernagel from first.
Three batters later, Austin Buckman walked, and after a wild pitch, the Knights had runners on second and third with two outs. With Xander Krump at the plate, Warrick Dilse, who came on in relief of Svihovec earlier in the frame, got the infielder to ground out to second, spoiling the Knights' home opener.
With dropping temperatures and sprinkles of rain starting to fall, game two ended after three innings.
"It was kind of frustrating, at the beginning (of the day), we had a slow start," Nolan Dix said. "The nice thing is we're going to have good pitching all year, we've got four, five, six kids that can throw strikes, and once we get rolling, I think our hitting is going to come around and we're going to score a lot of runs this summer."
Hettinger 11, Belfield-South Heart 7
H 101 180 0 - 11 6 1
BSH 040 000 2 - 7 4 4
H: Mason Defoe (4.0), Warrick Dilse (3.0) and Bo Wilson. BSH: Tanner Obrigewitch (4.1), Preston Walter (2.1) and Tanner Jarrett.
W-Defoe. L-Obrigewitch. HR-BSH: Tyler Kastrow.
Highlights: H: Warrick Dilse 3 IP, H, 4 BB, 2 ER, 6 K; Parker Krebsbach 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 RBI, R, 2 SB; Jacob Svihovec 0-2, 3 BB, 2 R. BSH: Walter 2.2 IP, H, BB, ER, 4 K; Kastrow 1-4, HR, RBI, R; Cauy Shypkoski 0-2, 3 BB, RBI, R.
Hettinger 4, Belfield-South Heart 2 (F/3)
Full stats were not available