Vistas dominate Moorhead
That’s about enough of that other bat for Brady Lampert.
After a dismal 0-for-3 performance in the first game of the Minot Vistas’ doubleheader sweep of Moorhead (Minn.) on Sunday, Lampert wasn’t sure he would get another swing.
He did and he finally used his own bat for the first time this season. The result: a three-run home run to left field in the sixth inning to give Minot a 10-0 lead, enough for the run rule and a nice complement to the 7-2 win in game one.
“It felt solid!” Lampert said. “It was my bat. I’ve been using (Chandler Jacob’s) the whole season. The first time I swung my bat and it felt solid. It was a low pitch, low inside, and I just turned on it and got it in the air.”
Lampert was replaced at third base by Casey Ryan for game two, which has been routine for coach Todd Larson in the early part of the American Legion season.
Ryan was moved in the sixth inning for his first work of year on the mound and Lampert was put back in at third. Moorhead reliever Brandon Weiser walked Caleb Fornshell and Marcus Quist to open the frame and Lampert followed with his first home run of the season. He hit four for Minot High School in the spring.
“I was mad at myself (in game one)” Lampert said. “I always get down on myself when I got strikes on me right away and that happens a lot in Legion baseball, it feels like.”
Minot (8-2) had a season-high 13 hits in the first game and Austin Berntson (2-1) held the Blues (3-5) to four hits in six innings before being relieved by Jacob Holmen.
“We seem to have a good approach one through nine,” Larson said. “I felt we got good production from the top and bottom of the lineup today. Austin Berntson, on the hill, was good again, gave up that one in the first. If they wouldn’t have scored on that hiccup with him in the first inning, he’d be really good.”
Moorhead scored the game’s first run on an error when first baseman Grant Larson was unable to handle the ball on a pickoff attempt. The Blues left two on in the inning and Berntson settled down, striking out the side in the second. He finished with six strikeouts, five at the bottom of the order as Moorhead struggled with his curveball.
“They had a tough time sitting on that,” Berntson said, “but mainly I tried to jump ahead with the fastball and try to keep them off balance (by) switching speeds.”
Minot responded to Moorhead’s early lead with three runs in the first and four in the second. Marcus Quist was a catalyst in both innings. The second baseman drove in the team’s first run on a single to score Fornshell. Jake Magnuson scored the Vistas’ first run of the second inning on a throwing error and Quist followed with an RBI single to score Alex Mack.
Moorhead swept Minot last year, but the Blues graduated nine players and the lack of experience showed in the rematch.
“The situation was last year we were the veteran team and they were the newbies and kind of the opposite this year,” Moorhead coach Bryant Bergeson said. “They’re big, strong, mature guys and our guys are (5-foot-7), 150 pounds, so that’s it when you’re 17.”
Minot has four 19-year-olds to just one for Moorhead.
Demitry Zafra (2-1) earned the win in game two, but was held to just three innings because he threw earlier in the week and will be key to the team’s five-game swing this week in Omaha, Neb.
Zafra, Shawn Danielson and Ryan combined on the one-hitter in six innings. Each player found the strike zone as Minot’s bullpen continued to prove its depth.
“We still haven’t thrown Caleb Fornshell yet,” Larson said. “We were trying to get him in in the seventh, but that didn’t work out. Moorhead’s a good baseball team. They swept us twice last year. It felt like we pitched well and hit it well.”
Grant Larson, Todd’s son, matched Lampert with three RBIs to lead the Vistas in the second game. Berntson added a pair and started the four-run first inning with a two-RBI double.
Minot’s first action in Omaha is Wednesday against Tri-City Red of New Brighton, Minn. The team will also play Sioux Falls (S.D.) and teams from Omaha, Denver and Oklahoma.