Firebirds rack up hits in Game 1 win, fizzle out in Game 2

Sam Herder
Devils Lake third baseman Ben Shepherd makes a throw over to first baseman Cody Wren in a 15-5 win against Grand Forks Red River on Tuesday.

By Sam Herder

Journal Sports Editor

After a slow start figuring out the Grand Forks Red River pitcher, the Devils Lake baseball team put on a hitting clinic in a 15-5 Game 1 win Tuesday.

The Firebirds scored five runs in the fourth inning and eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to 10-run GFRR.

“Once guys started to use the whole field, some guys have been pull-happy in the past and we’ve been saying to hit it up the middle or to the right,” Firebirds head coach Justin Bear said. “Guys started to take advantage of the whole field and not just be pull-crazy and that was great to see.”

The Roughriders took the five-inning nightcap 12-4.

Down 3-1 with little production at the plate, the Devils Lake offense found something in the fourth in Game 1. Much of the Firebirds’ 19 hits came in the latter half of the game.

Ty Ness followed his third-inning triple with a bases-clearing double in the fourth to score Cody Wren, Bryce Sebelius and Jake Mertens.

Ness totaled four hits in the game. Landyn Swenson also had four hits, and he and Ness scored off of Ben Shepherd’s double in the fourth inning as DL took a 6-3 lead.

Both teams swapped a run in the fifth.

Then the offensive explosion happened.

The Firebirds went through the order in the bottom of the sixth, with Ness and Swenson combining for four hits, to score eight runs and get to the 10-run rule.

Ryan Haahr connected for a RBI double which hit the left-field fence. Noah Widmer then hit a two-run single. Widmer scored when Joey Hornstein walked with the bases loaded. Mertens hit a sacrifice fly to score Wren. Then Swenson hit a bases-clearing triple to end the game at 15-5.

Swenson also got the start on the mound, going 4.1 innings until Mertens came in for relief.

“The first game our pitchers did a good job of keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win,” Bear said. “Hitting-wise, we were putting pressure on. Eventually they gave us a little bit and we were finally able to take advantage.”

The bats continued to produce for the Firebirds to start Game 2, but eventually fizzled out in the 12-4 loss.

DL scored three runs in the first and one in the second before being shut out.

Shepherd and Wren had two hits while Widmer collected two RBIs off his single in the first inning.

GFRR pulled away in the fourth and fifth innings, scoring four runs in each.

“The second game we came out with the energy and swinging the bat again, but we just kind of fizzled out after that,” Bear said.

The Firebirds travel to Fargo Shanley on Friday for a doubleheader. Times are set for 5 and 7 p.m.