Devils Lake open the Class A East Region baseball tournament with a 7-3 win over Fargo Davies.
Devils Lake found itself on the wrong side of the scoreboard after one inning of play in its North Dakota High School Athletic Association Class A East Region baseball quarterfinal Tuesday, May 21, against visiting Fargo Davies. So the Firebirds adjusted.
“We saw him (Davies starting pitcher Brooks Brown) last week when he came in for relief and we knew his balls constantly rode on the outside of the plate,” said Firebirds head coach Brent Luehring. “So I told the guys, ‘You gotta make an adjustment. You gotta make an adjustment.”
And when the Firebirds did, it went south fast for Brown and the Eagles.
The Firebirds scored seven runs in the second inning, all with one out, en route to beating the Eagles 7-3 from Legion Field. The victory was the Firebirds’ seventh in eight games and the second win over Davies in a week. Most importantly, it put the Firebirds in the East Region championship semifinals Thursday evening at 4 p.m. from Legion Field against Fargo North who defeated the region’s top seed Grand Forks Central Tuesday. It also means that the Firebirds are one win away from a spot in the state tournament at Corbett Field in Minot next weekend.
“Our motto during this stretch of wins has been to do your job. We have a two-game season to win one game so do you your job for one game and whatever happens happen,” Luehring said.
With one out in the bottom of the second and runners on first and third, Chris Shepherd’s RBI single scored Parker Vilandre who opened the inning drawing a walk. A Nate Grafsgaard single loaded the bases and Jacob Greene’s hit, which forced an Eagle error, scored Hunter Swanson that tied the ballgame up at 2-all. Michael Widmer followed Greene with an infield single that scored Aaron Johnson who came in to courtesy run for Shepherd. Luke Aanstad’s two-run double scored Grafsgaard and Greene that put the Firebirds ahead 5-2.
Joey Hornstein knocked in Widmer and Aanstad with a double for the final two runs.
The scoring barrage ended Brown’s day, who did strike out two in his two innings on the mound. But it also essentially thwarted any Eagles plans of a 5 over 4 upset.
“I’m just so proud of the kids. Davies came out, scored two on us early but we didn’t quit. We had a big inning and Parker once again — throw him on the mound and he’s a bulldog. He just battled his way through it,” said Luehring.
Vilandre, who shut out the Eagles exactly seven days ago to the date, pitched the seven hit complete game, striking out four on 104 pitches.
“It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win,” Luehring said.
Leadoff hitter Zach Kluver took a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence to open the game and with two outs, Davies’ Kameron Rowe knocked in Sam Moser that gave the Eagles the 2-0 advantage.
Chris Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ