MLS-G-K tops DL-B in Region 7 opener

Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood-Glenburn-Kenmare entered the Region 7 tournament as the No. 2 seed in 2013, but its season ended in disrepair.

The Mavericks went two-and-out, losing to eventual champion Trenton-Trinity Christian in the first round, followed by a defeat to top-seeded Watford City, a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise productive season.

“We’re definitely hoping to change that this year,” MLS-G-K coach Laurie Dutcher said.

MLS-G-K kicked off its 2014 campaign in style with a 10-2 win on the road over Des Lacs-Burlington.

After a scoreless first two innings, the Mavericks blew up for four in the third and five in the fourth.

“I think that we have some really big bats in the lineup,” Dutcher said. “At the end of the day, we have some really solid pitching, and the bats are really coming alive after today’s game.”

The game’s offensive highlight came in the third inning, when Doug Winzenburg took DL-B senior pitcher Austin Schestler deep. A right-hander, Winzenburg blasted a fastball to the opposite field, and the wind did the rest as the ball sailed over the right-field fence.

“That’s something that we’re capable of doing,” Dutcher said. “We always tell them not to swing for the fences, because sometimes you get a little too far ahead of yourself that way, so we just tell the players to aim for solid contact, and that’s really what today was all about.

“We did have the home run, but the win was about how our players stepped up and put the ball in play.”

Winzenburg was a triple away from the cycle, going 3-for-3 with two runs and 3 RBIs.

All but one MLS-G-K player reached base safely.

“Any time you do that, good things are gonna happen,” Dutcher said. “If we keep the bats going like we did today – and there’s no reason we shouldn’t – I expect to see scoreboards like this.”

As for the Lakers, their energy was lacking from the start.

DL-B notched six hits, the first of which didn’t arrive until the fourth inning.

“I don’t know if we were a little nervous or if we just had other things going on. I’m not real sure,” DL-B coach Andy Lach said. “Our energy level and our effort wasn’t where it should be, and a lot of times, baseball is a mental game. We just weren’t there today, and sometimes that happens, but we have to be better.”

Connor Brackenbury tallied the win for MLS-G-K (1-1). He surrendered two runs over seven innings, striking out 10.

Pitching is expected to be a powerful ally for the Mavericks this season.

“We have some really solid pitching,” Dutcher said. “I feel very confident in the pitchers that we have, and not only do we have experienced pitchers, but we have a lot of young kids coming up, too.”

The Mavericks battles Watford City on the road in a Region 7 doubleheader at 4 p.m. Monday.

DL-B takes on another regional opponent, Stanley, at 4 p.m. today on the road.

“We talked about finding excitement for the game again,” said Lach, referencing the postgame message to his players. “It wasn’t there today, but it will be.”

Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.