The Devils Lake junior strikes out six in the complete game as Firebirds split doubleheader with Fargo Davies.
For the second consecutive home game, Parker Vilandre wheeled and dealed from the mound, this time shutting out another visiting favorite in Fargo Davies as Devils Lake inched closer to hosting the entirety of the North Dakota High School Activities Association’s Eastern Dakota Conference baseball tournament on their home field after winning the conference portion of a doubleheader Tuesday, May 14, from Legion Field at Roosevelt Park.
“Parker kind of mixed pitches well in back-to-back starts for him and we kind of played good baseball, played clean baseball,” said Firebirds head coach Brent Luehring.
Vilandre went the distance, allowing four hits, zero runs and striking out six on 108 pitches. He also got himself out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth. And while the Eagles never got into a hitting rhythm, the Firebirds found the right notes as they finished with 12 hits for the game.
An error by Davies second baseman Sam Moser allowed leadoff hitter Jacob Greene to get on to open the Firebirds first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning. An out later, Luke Aanstad’s single scored Greene. Joey Hornstein’s ground-rule double put runners on second and third. Vilandre’s sacrifice fly scored Aanstad that gave the Firebirds the 2-0 lead.
Greene’s RBI single in the second inning that scored Nate Grafsgaard put the Firebirds up by three runs and the Firebirds added four runs in the fifth due in part by a two-run single by Hornstein that scored Michael Widmer and Aanstad. Hornstein later scored off of hit by Hunter Swanson. The Firebirds led 7-0 heading into the sixth.
Devils Lake added a run in the sixth inning to win 8-0.
“We’ve kinda strung a week and half of good baseball together,” Luehring began. “I knew they were going to be a pretty good team and I knew that we were going to see a pretty good arm and we just jumped on them right away.”
It was the Firebirds fifth win in a row. More importantly, it improved their EDC record to 6-3 with them holding tiebreakers over both Davies and Grand Forks Red River which were ahead of the Firebirds by a half a game going into Tuesday’s slate of games in a log jammed two thru five spots in the standings.
“It was a really big win. With one game left and sitting at 6 and 3, we may have a chance to host a playoff game next Tuesday (May 21) so that gives us an opportunity for sure,” Luehring said.
The Eagles fell to 5-3 in the conference.
In the event of the Firebirds hosting the quarterfinal round on next Tuesday, they will play all of the EDC tournament at Legion Field as Devils Lake is the host city.
Andy Mach’s two-run home run in the third inning helped Davies (9-5) to earn the split.
Already ahead by a run, Mach’s homer over the left field fence that also scored Rylee Goellner put the Eagles ahead 3-0. Goellner’s two-run double in the fourth inning added the two insurance runs.
“It was the last game of the year for some of those guys so just to get them playing. It isn’t anything we’re going to hang our hats on,” said Luehring.
The Firebirds are 12-7 overall and will end their regular season Thursday, May 16 with one game at Valley City. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Chris Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ