The last time Fargo Bombers pitcher Andrew Lein faced Minot at Corbett Field, the game ended with him spiking his glove in frustration as his own throwing error gave the Metros a walk-off, extra-inning win.
On Friday, it was Lein’s bat that saved him from another potential loss.
Despite recording just seven outs on the mound, the lanky lefty blasted a three-run homer during the fourth inning of a loser-out game at the Junior Legion state tournament, helping Fargo to the 8-6 win that ended Minot’s season.
Grand Forks eliminated Fargo 10-6 later in the day.
Lein’s dinger was his second of the year and part of a four-run inning that gave Fargo its final lead of the game.
“It seems like he’s been stroking the ball hard all year but really not too many have gone over the fence,” Bombers coach Andy Schweigert said. “I got a little smile on my face when that one went over.”
Fargo’s go-ahead rally occurred one inning after Minot used a four-run frame of its own to grab the lead.
Metros first baseman Dalton Cooper had the lone RBI hit in the top of the third, but a hit batter, a walk and three Fargo errors helped Minot take a 5-4 lead.
Bombers reliever Willy Roman took over with one out and the bases loaded. After allowing two of Lein’s runners to score, Roman held the Metros scoreless until they plated an unearned run in the seventh.
“He painted the corners and he had a good curveball, changed it up,” said Cooper, who went 3 for 4 with a double and a triple. “He was a good pitcher.”
Conor Taney suffered the loss for Minot, allowing 10 hits and eight runs in four innings. Alex Arrayan tossed a pair of scoreless frames in relief.
“We had a couple (innings) where we felt we could’ve pushed a couple more across, but we also had some plays where we kept them from scoring,” Metros coach Jason Steele said. “That’s how it goes. Two teams competing to keep playing for the season, there’s gonna be a winner and there’s gonna be a loser, but overall I’m satisfied with the way we played.”
Leadoff Hunter Duttenhefer and No. 2 batter Liam Owens had two hits apiece for Minot and combined to score three runs. Brady Ostendorf went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs to pace the Bombers.
Although the Metros failed to advance deep into the state tournament, Steele said his players gained valuable experience.
“With the Junior Legion level, with this age of kids, there’s gonna be some inconsistency; they’re never gonna be perfect day to day,” he said. “But from beginning to end of the season, we definitely improved. We learned how to compete harder, which is what we asked for all year. … We did that this tournament. We competed.”
Daniel Allar reports on Minot State University athletics and assists with high school and Legion coverage. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.