Vistas eliminate Governors with walk-off
WILLISTON -- A little risk taking never hurt anybody. It certainly worked out well for the Minot Vistas on Friday. After Eason Bennett drew a walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game against Bismarck, he was instructed to steal...
WILLISTON - A little risk taking never hurt anybody.
It certainly worked out well for the Minot Vistas on Friday.
After Eason Bennett drew a walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game against Bismarck, he was instructed to steal second. On a 1-0 pitch, he took off and slide in safely. Teammate Creighton Rudolph took that pitch, a called strike. One pitch later he faced a 1-2 count. The next pitch he saw from Governors reliever Dawson Keller was hit just hard enough through the right side to allow Bennett to score, making the Vistas 5-4 winners in a loser-out game at the North Dakota Class AA American Legion State Baseball Tournament at Ardean Aafedt Stadium.
"I was looking for an extra-base hit there, but then he got second," Rudolph said, "so then I was just trying to poke one through, and luckily that's what happened. ... It's a big day for us. We live to fight another day."
Minot was forced into a loser-out game after dropping a 2-1 decision to Fargo Post 2 late on Thursday. After all games that day were delayed several hours due to morning rainfall, Minot and Post 2 got started at 10:32 p.m., but Fargo was determined to finish quickly. Fargo pitcher Karson Spiess pitched a complete game, allowing one unearned run on two hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts.
"It was a tough feeling last night because we thought we could have played better," Rudolph said. "We felt we could have had better at-bats, felt like we had the win right there and we lost it. We had to be resilient. Luckily the guys gathered together and played decent baseball today."
Governors starter Collin Aarfor pitched two scoreless frames in the beginning but lost his control in the third. He allowed two singles and four walks - along with a hit batter - all in the first seven hitters of the inning, allowing Minot to take a 3-0 lead. It might have been more, but Matt Guenther cut down a runner at home from right field following a single from Rudolph.
Keller relieved him and gave up a sacrifice fly to Minot's Eli Stewart for a 4-0 lead. Keller pitched the rest of the way, holding the Vistas under wraps until the ninth.
"(Aarfor) lost his command a little bit. He hadn't pitched in a while with some shoulder issues," Governors head coach Mike Skytland said. "We went to Dawson, and he was a huge part of giving us a chance to win. He gave us a shot, but they earned it with a clean base hit."
Bismarck made it a one-run game in the fifth inning. The Governors loaded the bases with one out and received a walk from Alex Jacob, a sacrifice fly from Logan Morse and a single from Guenther.
They tied it in the top of the ninth after Jacob struck an 0-2 pitch through the middle to score Jake Olson with two outs.
"The best way to sum that up is we're down 4-0 and kept it within reach," Skytland said. "You just tip your cap to their guy."
The Vistas advance to Saturday's 7 p.m. game, potentially against West Fargo so as to avoid a rematch with Fargo Post 2, per tournament guidelines.
"I liked with the tight games we've played this year, this wasn't new, this wasn't scary," Minot head coach Pat Arntson said. "We weren't hitting at all, and they didn't give in. They got it when we needed it."
Minot 5, Bismarck 4
B 000 030 001 - 4 9 0
M 004 000 001 - 5 6 2
B: Collin Aarfor (2.1), Dawson Keller (6.1) and Ben Weaver. M: Alex Schimke (5.0), Paxten Wahlund (4.0) and Creighton Rudolph.
W-Wahlund. L-Keller. HR-None.
Highlights: B, Alex Jacob 2-4, 2 RBI; Matt Guenther 2-4, 1 RBI; Cole Parisien 2-4; Jake Olson 1-3, 2 R; Ben Weaver 1-4; Nick Lembke 1-4, 1 R; Collin Aarfor 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 K, 6 BB. M, Creighton Rudolph 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI; Easton Bennett 1-3, 2 R; Johnny Tubbs 1-2, 1 RBI; Derek Bartsch 1 R, 1 RBI; Conor Taney 1-3, 1 RBI; Eli Stewart 1 RBI; Kyler Stenberg 1-4; Alex Schimke 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 K, 4 BB.