Despite doubleheader loss, Firebirds happy to play on home turf once more

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – To say the Devils Lake Firebirds were eager to play would be the understatement of the week. 

Devils Lake pitcher Simon Beach (right) has a mound visit with Devils Lake catcher Hayden Hofstad (left).

Or, well, month. Almost, anyway. It was quite the occasion when the Firebirds took to the baseball diamond at Roosevelt Park Friday evening for a doubleheader slate against West Fargo Sheyenne. After all, it was the first time Devils Lake played on home turf during the 2022 season. Quite an eye-popper, considering their original home-opener was scheduled almost one month to the day (April 12). 

No matter to Devils Lake. 

Even though they were going up against one of the premier baseball powers in the Mustangs on May 6, the Firebirds were finally happy to play at home. Better yet, play period. 

Although the Firebirds (2-4, 0-4) went on to drop both legs of their doubleheader against the Mustangs, 11-3 and 6-0, Devils Lake head coach Brent Luehring was happy to give his team a chance to play at home. 

"I was excited to get out," Luehring said after the games. "Just being outside all week has been good for us. Any time you can play at home, it's good for the kids. It's good for the environment. It's good for having the...you see the student body here to support the kids. It's good for them." 

Whether it be from thunderstorms or blizzards, the Firebirds saw almost the entire month of April get torpedoed due to weather. As a result, heading into their May 6 games, the Firebirds had only four games under their belt, whereas West Fargo Sheyenne had nine. 

Devils Lake's pitching, spearheaded by Simon Beach in game one and Gage Meyer in game two, bent early but did not entirely break. However, seven errors in the first game, followed by seven walks in the second, eventually became the difference-maker as each game waned into the later innings. 

The Devils Lake Firebirds attempt to catch West Fargo Sheyenne in a steal attempt.

"I thought we threw the ball [well]," Luehring said. "I am not complaining at all. Maybe we got a little deep into some counts and ran our pitch count up a little bit in that first game, but I thought we fielded it well. I just didn't think we threw it well, to be honest. I think we had five throwing errors out of six in that first game, and [in] the second game, we had one that was a throwing errors that cost us a couple of runs and getting a little momentum." 

Devils Lake has now lost four consecutive games after winning their first two games to open the year (April 1 against Bismarck). Offensively, the Firebirds have scored four total runs over their last four games, dating back to April 21 against Valley City. 

To Luehring, playing against one of the more formidable teams in the state brings its fair share of challenges. Even still, Luehring believes the team will begin to find more consistency as more playing time becomes more of a regularity. 

"I told the kids, I said, you're looking at the preseason No. 1 team in the state," Luehring said. "I just asked them to come out and compete. You just have to be positive and lead us into tomorrow." 

Game Breakdown: 

Game 1: Devils Lake vs. West Fargo Sheyenne 

Final score: 11-3 West Fargo Sheyenne 

The breakdown: 

- WFS: 0 2 0 5 0 0 4: 11 6 1 

- DVL: 1 0 0 0 2 0 0: 3 5 7 

Standout stats: 

- West Fargo Sheyenne: 

    Pitching: 

    - Carter Ohleen: W, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 90 P (55 S) 

    - Tanner Boehm: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 P (17 S) 

    Hitting: 

    - Trey Stocker: 2-4 (1 2B), 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB  

    - Cooper Borchardt: 1-4 (1 2B), 2 RBI, 1 SB 

- Devils Lake: 

    Pitching: 

    - Simon Beach: L, 4.0 IP, 7 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 104 P (64 S) 

    - Beau Brodina: 3.0 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 50 P (29 S) 

    Hitting: 

    - Jackson Baeth: 2-4 (1 2B), 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K 

Game 2: Devils Lake vs. West Fargo Sheyenne 

Final score: 6-0 West Fargo Sheyenne 

The breakdown: 

    - WFS: 0 0 3 0 3: 6 5 0 

    - DVL: 0 0 0 0 0: 0 4 1 

Standout stats: 

- West Fargo Sheyenne: 

    Pitching: 

    - Sam Carpenter: W, 3.0 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 46 P (28 S) 

    - Trey Stocker: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 27 P (20 P) 

    Hitting: 

    - Tate Gustafson: 2-3, 3 RBI, 1 K 

- Devils Lake: 

    Pitching: 

    - Gage Meyer: L, CG, 6 R, 6 ER, 7 BB, 4 K, 95 P (43 S) 

    Hitting: 

    - Caleb Schneider: 2-3 (1 2B) 

    - Jackson Baeth: 2-3 (1 2B)  

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell  phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.