Pitchers come up big in Devils Lake's doubleheader sweep against Valley City

Sam Herder
Devils Lake pitcher Landyn Swenson makes a throw to first baseman Cody Wren to pickoff a Valley City runner Monday. Swenson allowed just three hits in the 8-0 Game 1 win.

By Sam Herder

Journal Sports Editor

Landyn Swenson gave up a quick single in the first inning between Devils Lake and Valley City on Monday at Legion Field. But he quickly picked off that base runner.

Swenson went on to retire his next 13 batters to dominate the mound in a 8-0 Game 1 win. The Firebirds held on in Game 2 for a 4-3 victory.

“We knew going in to today that standings-wise and everything, we had to have these two games,” Firebirds head coach Justin Bear said. “We came out and got the first one. We took advantage once again of some miscues and we were able to make it hurt. Second game we were able to battle. We had to work a little bit for that one.”

Swenson needed the minimum 15 at-bats to get through his first five innings. He gave up one hit in the sixth and one in the seventh to allow just three hits in the game as DL’s offense took care of the rest.

Swenson struck out five batters in his complete game and walked none.

“He was on cruise control,” Bear said. “He’s always around the plate and tonight he was just working it. His fastball was commanding and it was certainly relaxing for me.”

Ty Ness and Swenson gave the Firebirds a quick 2-0 lead when Ben Shepherd put the ball in play and Valley City made an errant throw at home.

The Firebirds tacked on six more runs in the fourth that essentially sealed the game.

Joey Hornstein’s single scored Noah Widmer. Bryce Sebelius reached home off an error.

Then Ty Ness sent Hornstein and Jake Mertens home with a single before being sent home off a Swenson triple. Swenson finished the rally by scoring on a wild pitch.

DL’s defense continued to play sharp behind Swenson to end the game, only committing one error in the 8-0 win.

Game 2 had a bit more drama as the Firebirds needed to hold on in the last two innings to secure a 4-3 win.

Hornstein came in to pitch the last two innings in relief for Cody Wren. The freshman came up big, getting a strikeout to end the sixth with runners on second and third. He then ended the game in the seventh on another strikeout with the tying run on second.

“A freshman coming in, sometimes you never know what you’re going to get,” Bear said. “He came in and threw strikes. We know that he has decent velocity, but he was able to hit the strike zone and that’s what we wanted.”

The Firebirds built a small lead after Ryan Haahr’s single scored Swenson in the first inning. Swenson came around to score again in the third off the bat of Shepherd.

Valley City got on the board in the fourth, but the Firebirds responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Shepherd added two more RBIs with a double that scored Mertens and Swenson.

The Hi-Liners scored two runs in the fifth to make it 4-3. But DL got the outs when needed to preserve the win and get the doubleheader sweep.

The Firebirds improve to 7-9 overall and 6-7 in the Eastern Dakota Conference.

“This will get us in the thick of things,” Bear said. “We have four more conference games this week and they’re all important. We took care of it today and hopefully we can continue it the rest of the week now.”