Bishop Ryan holds off late Mustangs charge

SURREY – The Bishop Ryan baseball team nearly learned the hard way that no lead is safe.

The Lions allowed seven runs over the final two innings, but held on for a 10-7 victory over Region 6 opponent Surrey-Our Redeemer’s Christian School on Tuesday.

Surrey-ORCS junior Cole Zaderaka – representing the winning run – grounded into a game-ending fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. The Mustangs (0-2 overall, 0-2 region) loaded the bases with one out thanks in part to two Lion errors in the frame. But Ryan junior pitcher Austin Eggl got sophomore Jacob Burckhard to pop out to the catcher before retiring Zaderaka on the fielder’s choice.

The Lions (4-0, 2-0) plated the first nine runs of the game, beginning with an RBI single by sophomore Tanner Sanders, scoring junior Brody Bosch from second. Ryan touched up Surrey-ORCS starting pitcher Brendan Larson for nine runs in five innings, including a three-run home run by junior Tyler Allers to left field.

“Tyler’s been hitting the ball well,” Ryan coach Brent Nelson said. “He had two triples yesterday and a home run today. I knew he could hit. We have to have a guy backing up Mason Kramer and Austin Eggl. He’s done a great job and he’s got to keep that up.”

Allers finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.

With a large cushion to work with, Eggl’s first win of the season seemed guaranteed. He started strong in his season debut, allowing no runs on three hits in the first five innings. But Eggl ran into trouble in the sixth after failing to get the first five Surrey-ORCS batters out. Senior Chris Olson started the inning with a single before sophomore Bridger Urban drove him home with an RBI triple that Ryan junior Nick Berentson misplayed in center field. Freshman John Reiten capped off the inning with a two-RBI single up the middle.

“We had productive at-bats during the game, but we hit balls right at people,” Surrey-ORCS coach Bruce Mack said. “Those last couple innings we strung things together and were a little better at the plate. If we don’t give Ryan eight runs in those two innings and literally give away runs in that big inning, it’s a different game. But that’s baseball. We have to make plays.”

Despite struggling in the final two innings, Nelson stuck with his starter.

“It was a nice day so I wanted to extend his innings,” he said. “He should have been done a lot earlier, but we made some fielding mistakes. We have to catch the ball in the outfield. With plays like that, (Eggl) has to battle through. He’s our ace and he’s the guy I want with the ball on the mound.”

Eggl pitched a complete game to earn the victory. He allowed seven runs on 12 hits, striking out five.

The Lions committed three errors in the final two innings – two in the seventh – along with other “mental mistakes,” Nelson said. Miscommunication among infielders and fielding errors in the outfield allowed the Mustangs to close the gap down the stretch.

“That’s usually not us,” Nelson said. “We had two errors in two games and then we come out hot. We were up 9-0 and then we kinda let up. We fell asleep in the outfield and made some mistakes. Those are big. You do that in a couple weeks at the region tournament, that could keep you from going to state.”

Ryan’s bats went quiet during that stretch as well. After recording nine hits in the first five innings, the Lions strung together just two hits in the final two frames.

“We started off good, got the bats going early, but let our foot off the gas and started getting lazy out there,” Allers said. “It’s an ugly win, but a win’s a win.”

Both teams are in action at 4 p.m. Friday. Ryan travels to Garrison-Max and Surrey-ORCS hosts Velva-Drake-Anamoose.