Heart River, Shiloh Christian split double header in Belfield
A home run in game one would be the final nail in the coffin for Heart River, but the Cougars would make a comeback in game two, initiated with a three-run first inning.
BELLFIELD, N.D. — Region 8 leader Shiloh Christian answered Heart River with more hits and fewer errors, splitting a doubleheader on Tuesday.
Heart River's young pitching lineup continues to improve but the Cougars are struggling to piece it all together, with fielding errors and limited hits keeping pressure on the mound. They were shutout 6-0, by the Skyhawks’ senior pitcher Trace King in game one, a region counter, before taking up arms and barreling six hits in game two for a 6-3 finish.
Heart River (2-7, 4-12) may sit at the bottom of the Region 8 standings, but is one of four teams to put a notch in Shiloh Christian’s (9-1, 18-5) losing column.
“The thing that I was worried about the most, is probably the thing we are doing the best right now, which is pitching,” Silbernagel said. “Our group of sophomore pitchers are throwing strikes and at this level, really any level, that’s all you got to do. Throw it over the plate and make them beat you… I told them at the start of the year, ‘I’ll never get mad for making a mistake, if you fundamentally tried to do it the right way.’ But in the same breath, it is frustrating as a coach when you know they are capable of making most plays.”
The region counter quickly slipped away from the Cougars after a three run first inning by way of a drop, fielder's choice and hit slipping past their shortstop. The Skyhawks extended their lead 4-0 at the top of the second inning on a 6-4-3 double play.
Michael Fagerland hit a two-run homer. It would be the last scoring hit, coming at the top of the fifth inning.
Heart River’s biggest hit was ripped by Jordan Koppinger with a stand-up double. Their offense had only two hits and were subjected to two 1,2,3 innings. Aside from their three errors, the Cougars showed capability on defense, delivering two three up, three down innings themselves.
On the mound was sophomore Luke Obrigewitsch, who allowed 10 hits and two walks. Only half of the runs collected against him were earned. He struck out three batters, throwing 73 strikes out of 99 pitches.
He is looking to be a contributor in the batter’s box, nearly getting a hit past the Skyhawks with a bloop to left field, but the hit would unfortunately make a beeline to the fielder’s glove.
“I don't try to strike out people very much, I just try to get the ball in play so we have a chance to get the outs and hope my team doesn’t make errors,” Obrigewitsch said. “I am so unlucky this season [on offense]. Every ball I hit goes right to people and it's frustrating. I just want to hit the ball and help my team get hits and get some runs on the board.”
The runs would come in the second game, the Cougars scoring three at the bottom of the first. Walks and miscue throws would also be a contributing factor to their early lead. Shiloh Christian’s starting pitcher Evan Fuchs allowed three walks and threw a wild pitch that allowed senior Austin Buckman to advance home. Fuchs was taken out in the second inning, but his reliever Atticus Wilkinson also surrendered three walks. The pair allowed combined six hits, compared to Heart River's three pitchers who gave up two.
“I really like where we are positioned with our pitching,” Silbernagel said. “To win any tournament you have to have depth in pitching and I think compared to a lot of these teams we are deeper in pitching, it is just a matter of generating some runs for them.”