No more magic

JAMESTOWN – Run support is all Lincoln Voss needed this season and it’s finally coming around.

A three-time loser in one-run games during the regular season, the Fargo Shanley-Oak Grove ace won his last two starts by a combined score of 21-2. The latest was a 10-2 win over West Region No. 3 seed Minot High in the first round of the Class A state tournament Thursday at Jack Brown Stadium.

The Magicians drop into the consolation bracket to face West No. 1 Bismarck High at about 2:30 p.m. today. Shanley plays East No. 4 Grand Forks Red River in a semifinal at about 7 p.m.

Voss gave up two runs in a shaky first inning, but struck out 10 Magicians through the final six innings and was one of three Deacons with two RBIs.

“They hopped on me early, but my team came back and got me some runs, so that felt good,” said Voss, who will pitch for Augustana College (S.D.) next year. “Our struggle all year has been run support and in the (East Region) tournament and now here we’ve been doing a lot better job of it.”

MHS (18-4) was an offensive juggernaut through the regular season, but the Magicians could muster little at the plate after the opening frame. MHS junior Demitry Zafra gave up runs to the first four batters faced in the bottom of the first inning and classmate Shawn Danielson gave up the final four runs in the fifth.

“Any time you put a two-spot on in the top of the first, you’ve got to come back in action and just throw strikes,” MHS coach Pete Stenberg said. “Big game, I know, but you’ve gotta be able to answer and just shut the door and believe it’s gonna be a different situation after that. But to give up the four-spot after you put up two right away, you know, we’ve got to be a little tougher that way and it just wasn’t the way it went today.”

MHS junior Kolton Larson hit an RBI double to score senior Caleb Fornshell and senior Hunter Oothoudt brought Larson in with a sacrifice fly.

Voss said he struggled to locate his fastball in the first inning, but gained confidence when the Deacons’ offense began its encore of the East Region tournament opener.

Shanley (8-12) opened last week’s region tournament with an 11-0 rout of Grand Forks Central. Game one proved good to the Deacons again this week and in immediate fashion.

A throwing error by MHS junior catcher Wesley Johnson was sandwiched between two walks, and Zafra’s third walk brought in the first run. Shanley junior Chance Mistelski drove in two with a double and classmate Tom George scored on a wild pitch.

“We’ve had a lot of games this year that we’ve allowed teams back in the game in the sixth, seventh inning and we came into the state tournament with a goal of finishing games that we start,” Shanley coach Joel Swanson said. “(East Region tournament) went very well for us, as far as doing that, and today that was our one thing that the guys were talking about before we went out for the last inning.”

Four different Deacons scored in succession with the help of a second MHS error in the fifth inning and Voss followed with a 1-2-3 sixth inning, which ended on a double play. Voss gave up just three hits and walked five, but never had multiple walks in one inning.

“He changes speed a lot,” MHS junior Brady Lampert said. “The core part of the lineup, we saw a lot of curveballs. I saw a lot of curveballs. I know Kolton did and he changed speeds really good. Just couldn’t get one through their infield too. They held that down pretty well.”

MHS tried to rally in the seventh and loaded the bases with a walk, fielder’s choice and hit batsman. Voss worked two strikeouts into the mix and closed the game with another, catching Larson looking with an 0-2 count.

“I thought Voss threw well, but I don’t think we were real disciplined either,” Stenberg said. “We were swinging at things that were up in the zone and if we are a little more patient with that When he got ahead with two strikes, he got pretty tough with his fastball.”

Voss finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Shanley junior leadoff Jacob Salentine finished 1-for-1 with a two-RBI double and three walks. Oothoudt led MHS with two doubles.