Vistas handle Devils Lake

The Minot Vistas took care of an overmatched and undermanned Devils Lake squad for a doubleheader sweep in American Legion baseball Thursday at Corbett Field.

First-year pitcher Grant Larson held Devils Lake (0-8) to five hits and the Vistas (6-2) pulled away for an 8-1 win in game one as the visitors made three errors in the fifth inning.

Brock Krueger and Marcus Quist combined on a no-hitter in game two for a 10-0 win by run rule in five innings.

“I think (Grant) threw all right,” said Todd Larson, Vistas coach and Grant’s father. “He’s just a 16-year-old. Got in some trouble there in the fifth, but I thought he finished better in the sixth inning and seventh inning. … First outing as a Vista, I’m sure he was a little bit nervous and I thought he threw all right.”

Grant Larson struck out four and walked four in his first start of the season. The southpaw picked off two players at second base and stranded a total of seven runners. Devils Lake left two runners on base on three different occasions and Larson kept the opposition off balance with a mixture of fastballs, curveballs and changeups.

“I wasn’t able to locate my off-speed as well as I like to, but I battled (with) my fastball, worked out of a couple rough spots in the middle innings,” Grant Larson said. “It was pretty special to go out there and get a ‘W’. The team played well and it was fun.”

Devils Lake scored its lone run in the top of the fifth, but collapsed in the bottom half. Two wild pitches accompanied the error-filled frame.

Third baseman Jordan Longie overthrew first base to allow Krueger to reach second. Hunter Oothoudt followed with a popup, but center fielder Gabe Schmidt dropped the ball and Krueger scored.

Larson sent Oothoudt home with a double and DL pitcher Andrew Bertsch was pulled after walking Jacob Holmen. A wild pitch preceded the walk and allowed Larson to reach third.

Devils Lake traveled with just nine of its 13 players.

“We have a couple guys that got hurt over the weekend at football camp and a couple guys that are doing their hockey tryouts for (higher levels),” Devils Lake coach Tyler Mund said. “We’re pretty young. I think the first game we got some hits. That second game it kind of seems like we lose a little interest and gave up a little bit.”

Minot played smart and aggressive on the basepaths and looked to advance often. In game one, Holmen reached base in each of his at-bats – two singles and a walk – and stole second each time.

“I just felt like I could get a good jump off their pitcher there and coach felt the same way, so he gave me the go-ahead and I just took ’em,” Holmen said.

Holmen continued the aggressive running in game two. He reached second base on a ball-four wild pitch to lead off a four-run second inning and took third base and home plate on wild pitches.

The Devils Lake pitchers combined to throw five wild pitches in the second game. Austin Berntson’s two-RBI triple in the third inning epitomized the helplessness of Devils Lake. Berntson smacked the ball through the left-field gap, slid into third and quickly got to his feet to race home following a throwing error on the relay to third.

“We tried to stay aggressive to a point,” Todd Larson said. “Devils Lake’s a young ballclub. They’re going through some growing pains and you certainly don’t want to embarrass a group like that and we tried to not do that and hopefully we didn’t.

“Good wins. First outings for Brock and for Grant this summer and, you know, we’ve got a couple kids who haven’t thrown yet. Our pitching staff is so deep, so we need to play all these games on our schedule.”

Krueger struck out three and gave up five walks and Quist had two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 fifth inning.

The Vistas have given up just three runs in their last four games. Minot hosts Moorhead (Minn.) in a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Sunday at Corbett.