“It gave us the chance to get a chance,” said Firebirds head coach Brent Leuhring, after Saturday’s double-header. He was talking about the Firebirds win in the first game.
The Valley City Hi-Liners travelled to Devils Lake, Saturday, May 19, for a double-header at Roosevelt Park. The Hi-Liners came into the game 1-8 in EDC points, and an overall record of 2-14. The Firebirds were 2-7 in EDC points, and 4-10 overall.

“It gave us the chance to get a chance,” said Firebirds head coach Brent Leuhring, after Saturday’s double-header.  He was talking about the Firebirds win in the first game.

The Valley City Hi-Liners travelled to Devils Lake, Saturday, May 19, for a double-header at Roosevelt Park.  The Hi-Liners came into the game 1-8 in EDC points, and an overall record of 2-14.  The Firebirds were 2-7 in EDC points, and 4-10 overall.

Luke Aanstad started on the mound for the Firebirds and went all seven innings in the first game.  He gave up one earned run in the fourth, and recorded four strikeouts.  The Firebirds infield turned two big double-plays for Aanstad to get the Firebirds out of some jams and leave Hi-Liner runners stranded in scoring position.

The game got going for the Firebirds in the bottom of the second.  Parker Vilandre took a one-out walk, and then went to third on a single by DH Parker Schmid.  A wild pitch brought Vilandre home for the Firebirds’ first run.

Hi-Liner Easton Hech started the top of the third, and went down on a 6-3 routine play.  Aanstad tied up Corey Nelson on a wicked inside curve that caught the corner for a called third strike.  Another 6-3 grounder ended the inning.

The Hi-Liners got their one run of the first game in the fourth.  A Devin Anderson single led off the inning.  Briar Harvey hit a one-out liner into right and Anderson had third in his sights the whole way.  The throw was on target and in time, but the umpire ruled Anderson safe and had gone under the tag. Josh Beutler hit a grounder into right through the hole between first and second to score Anderson.  Runners were back on the corners, but a 6-4-3 double-play ended the inning, with the game tied 1-1.

A one-out double by Michael Widmer moved Chris Shepard to third, and Aanstad brought him home with a single to take the Firdbirds back up 2-1, going into the top of the fifth, where the Hi-Liners were sent down in order, one, two, three.

The Firebirds left runners on in the bottom of the fifth frame, and another 6-4-3 double-play and a fly ball to right ended the Hi-Liners’ top of sixth chances.

The Firebirds plated their third and final run in the bottom of the sixth.  Shepard hit a sharp liner just past the outstretched glove of the Hi-Liner shortstop over the bag at second.  A passed ball got him to second.  He went broke for third on the throw to first on a 6-3 grounder, but the throw from first to third was in time for the second Firebirds out.  Aanstad hit a routine fly to end the inning but wound up an E7, and Aanstad wound up at second instead.  Greene hit a line drive to left-center, but the throw to the plate was off target and the Firebirds had a 3-1 lead.

Aanstad got two quick outs in the top of the seventh, and then got into a battle with Reese Husdchka at the plate.  Aanstad went 3-0, and then battled back to a full count before Husdchka singled.  Hesch hit a swinging bunt for an infield hit and Husdchka ended up at third.  Nelson took Aanstad to 3-2, fouling off several, before Aanstad put a heater right past him.

The Firebirds won the first game 3-1.

Corey Nelson started on the mound for the Hi-Liners in the second game, and Parker Schmid for the Firebirds. 

The Hi-Liners jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but fell behind 5-2 in the bottom of the second.  The Firebirds plated two, and then plated three more with two outs.

The Hi-Liners answered with three of their own in the third to tie the game at 5-5, and it looked like a war of attrition was engaged.

Until the Firebirds had two outs in the bottom of third.  Luke Knowski got hit by a pitch to lead off.  Aanstad flew out to left.  Shepard hit a single advancing Knowski to second.  Hunter Swanson popped one up over second that looked like a chance for a Texas fly until a good catch over the shoulder by the second baseman made it two outs, runners at first and second.

Then the rally started on a swinging bunt by Aaron Johnson.  Knowski was aggressive in his base running and came home.  The Firebirds ended up batting around, with bases loaded, and three RBIs on HBPs, and one RBI on a BB.  The Firebirds plated six to go up 11-5.

The Hi-Liners picked up two ribbies in the top of the fourth before a bases loaded 6-4-3 double-play ended their rally attempt.

The Firebirds added one more run in the bottom of the frame, and Vilandre, pitching in relief in the top of the fifth struck out Hesch with the bases loaded to end the game.

The Firebirds won 12-7.

“We played well,” said Leuhring, “but still made some mistakes, like not running from second to third on a ball hit to second.  Small mistakes, but easily corrected.  We had a big third in the second game, but it was the win in the first game that gave us the chance we need—the chance for the chance we need.  That win can get us into to the EDC playoffs, depending on what happens Monday here at home against Fargo South.”