Metros, Bombers split
The Minot Metros overcame several challenges in the first game of a junior Legion doubleheader against Fargo on Tuesday at Corbett Field.
Fargo pitcher Andrew Lein tossed a no-hitter through four innings, an illegal bat nearly halted a Minot rally and the Metros faced the potential final out of the game twice.
But a combination of timely hitting and Fargo gaffes allowed the Metros to pull out a 6-5 win in eight innings. The Metros committed nine errors in a 16-5 six-inning loss in game two.
“We battled through some adversity and we competed,” Metros coach Jason Steele said of game one.
Minot (12-12) staged its first game-saving rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Cleanup Dalton Cooper led off with a single up the middle with his team trailing 4-2. After designated hitter Andrew Arnold struck out, shortstop Conor Taney singled to right field but was ruled out after his bat was inspected and determined to be illegal. Steele said the bat wasn’t BBCOR certified and had a minus-5 length-to-weight ratio instead of the required minus-3.
Rather than having runners on first and third with one out, Cooper was sent back to second with two outs. But Trever Ringoen drove in Cooper with a single, then scored the tying run on a double to right-center by Eric Danielson.
Fargo pinch-hitter Colin Birch led off the eighth inning with a walk. After advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt and fielder’s choice, Birch scampered home on a passed ball to give the Bombers a 5-4 advantage.
Thanks to a Hunter Duttenhefer single, a walk to Dalton Cooper and a wild pitch, the Metros placed runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the frame.
Designated hitter Andrew Arnold drilled a comebacker to Lein, who batted the ball down and struggled to grip it as Arnold raced toward first. Once Lein handled the ball, he rushed his throw and overthrew first baseman Brady Ostendorf as two Metros scored for the walk-off win.
“We just kept chipping away and we competed,” Steele said. “We were focused at the plate.”
Cooper went 1-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored in game one. Liam Owens picked up the win in relief, allowing one run over the final four innings.
The Metros’ focus didn’t carry over to game two.
Fargo (17-11) posted eight runs in the second inning on just two hits. Cooper walked three batters in the inning and plunked another before Alex Arrayan relieved him. The Metros also committed three errors in the inning.
“Our pitchers didn’t throw strikes, number one, and then we didn’t make plays behind them when they did throw strikes,” Steele said.
Fargo benefited from more mistakes in a five-run sixth, when four Minot errors helped the Bombers take a 16-4 lead.
The Metros tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth to account for the final tally.
Ringoen and Duttenhefer went 2-for-2 to pace Minot. Lein, Carter Thompson and Brad Nelson each had two hits including a double to lead Fargo.
The Metros host Dickinson in a doubleheader at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Corbett Field.
Daniel Allar reports on Minot State University and assists with high school and Legion coverage. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.