Devils Lake beats Fargo Shanley in doubleheader opener to get the Eastern Dakota Conference win. Shanley rallies to win Game 2.
The measurement sign hanging on the left field fence at Legion Field at Roosevelt Park reads 302, as in 302 feet from the fence to home plate. Devils Lake’s Chris Shepherd’s line drive travelled 304.
Shepherd’s solo shot began a three run third inning that helped lift the Firebirds to the 4-0 Eastern Dakota Conference baseball win over Fargo Shanley Tuesday evening in the first game of a doubleheader.
“This was a game that last year we didn’t win down there,” began Firebirds head coach Brent Luehring. “We played well but it didn’t go our way so it was good to get off of the hump.
“This was a big EDC win for us. To get to two wins with just seven games left when everyone else has a full schedule so we’re sitting pretty good to qualify for the EDC tournament.”
Shepherd, hitting from the eighth spot in the lineup, hit his homer off of Deacons’ pitcher Zach Sandy, who had no-hit the Firebirds through the first two innings. Shepherd’s home run also began a Firebirds rally. Aaron Johnson followed Shepherd’s homer with a single. Three batters later, with one out and the bases loaded, Joey Hornstein’s RBI single knocked in Johnson. Parker Vilandre’s sacrifice fly scored Michael Widmer and the Firebirds led 3-0 at the end of three innings.
The three run margin was enough for starting pitcher Jacob Greene. Greene pitched the complete game shutout and struck out five. Greene also helped his cause, getting a RBI single in the bottom of the sixth that scored Hunter Swanson.
With the win, the Firebirds improved to 2-1 in the EDC, a half game back of West Fargo for the top spot. The Packers beat the Firebirds back on April 16. This was the Deacons first EDC game of the season. “Any win in the conference that counts in the standings is important. And that’s the main thing we’re going to take from tonight,” Luehring said.
Devils Lake 7 (5)
The Firebirds were one out away from completing their third sweep of the season but the Deacons changed those plans.
Shanley (2-1) scored five runs in its final at-bat, four coming off two hits, to steal Game 2.
“We just didn’t make enough plays. We usually make routine plays and we didn’t that game. That’s frustrating, that’s not like us,” Luehring said. “If we field the ball that game, we win.”
The Firebirds had four errors for the game, one led to Deacon’s first run of the inning. Trailing by a run, Sandy’s two-run single scored both Cooper Mattern and Mitchell Runcorn that gave the Deacons the one run lead.
With the bases loaded, Jace Dew’s two-run double scored Sandy and Drew Sandy giving the Deacons the three run advantage. The Firebirds left one stranded in the bottom of the inning.
The Firebirds (5-3) led 3-1 after two innings when Zach Ohma plated Vilandre and Swanson with a double. Johnson also scored in the second inning. Trailing 5-4, Luke Aanstad’s three-run double gave Devils Lake the two run lead after four innings that it would relinquish.
Chris Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ