Minot High gets walk-off win in 7th-place game

JAMESTOWN – The Class A state baseball tournament may have been at Jack Brown Stadium, but it was Minot that benefited from being the home team on Saturday.

The Magicians took advantage of a Jamestown pitching staff that struggled with control problems, scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh to win 11-10 for seventh place.

Starter Tyler Ukestad and closer Jake Stilwell combined for four wild pitches in the final frame. A run also scored on a passed ball, as Stilwell took his first loss of the season.

“It’s the end of the tournament and with the (cold and rainy) weather, and sitting around and waiting … you’ve got to use a few pitchers,” Minot coach Pete Stenberg said. “That just happens in a long tournament.”

Caleb Fornshell came home on a wild pitch to tie the game, and Hunter Oothoudt’s single to the left-center field gap scored Chandler Jacob to win a back-and-forth game.

“Neither team gave up and that’s what you like to see,” said Stenberg, whose team ended with a 19-6 record. “A lot of teams will pack it up. We just happened to be on the bottom (of the scoreboard). … Whoever had the last bat was gonna get it.”

Jamestown coach Kelley Kessler said even with his team holding a 10-6 advantage going into the bottom half of the seventh, the style of game didn’t suit his team.

“A score like 11-10, that’s not where (we) want the score to be,” Kessler said. “We’re not gonna be very successful if that’s where the score is gonna be.”

Minot got out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings thanks to a two-run single from Zach Danielson and three RBIs from Oothoudt, who finished 3-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.

However, the Blue Jays chipped away and eventually got within one run at 6-5 with help from Tyler Ukestad, who led all all hitters with a 4-for-5 performance. But it was a passed ball that allowed Marc Wagner to cross home plate to tie the game in the fifth. Shaun Hogan’s two-run single helped build the lead in the four-run inning.

“If we would have been ready to go in the first two innings, we could have had 20 hits,” said Kessler, whose team finished with 15. “It was a reversal of fortunes. The offense did its job and the pitching and defense let us down. That was a reversal of our whole season.”

Fornshell earned the win in relief of Minot starter Grant Larson. Fornshell pitched the final two innings, allowing one run on four hits.

Stenberg said he was pleased to get the win, but noted his disappointment with his team’s three-day performance.

“Not only our pitching, but just the way we didn’t come out and play the crisp baseball we’re capable of,” Stenberg said. “You’ve got to put together three perfect games to win this tournament. We just didn’t do that this year.”