Defense leads Lions past Surrey-ORCS

Bishop Ryan’s bats carried the Lions to a doubleheader sweep of Garrison-Max earlier this week, but on Thursday against Surrey-Our Redeemer’s Christian School, Ryan’s defense was the difference.

The Lions took the opener 6-0 in a Region 6 doubleheader at Corbett Field, their second straight regional win following a setback against Velva-Drake-Anamoose on Apr. 15.

Ryan turned two double plays, including a 1-2-3 effort that ended a bases-loaded threat from the Mustangs in the third inning.

“I really liked our defense tonight,” Ryan coach Brent Nelson said. “We got out of some big jams. That pitcher-to-home-to-first play was big for us. We didn’t hit the ball as well as we did last game, but I liked how we chipped away and scored some runs.”

Despite scoring six runs, the Lions managed just five hits against the Surrey-ORCS pitching staff, which walked nine and plunked Ryan senior Mason Kramer.

Senior Nick Berentson led things off for the Lions with a first-inning single. He scored the game’s first run on a bases-loaded walk from designated hitter Dakota Johnson.

Following Berentson’s single, Ryan went the next 16 at-bats before recording its second hit.

“Baseball is a funny game,” Nelson said. “One game, you’re getting 16 hits and the next you only get five.

“We’ve just got a few guys that need to go up with a little better purpose, knowing what to do in certain situations. We’ve been trying to work on that. With runners on second and third with one out, we’ve gotta drive the ball and get those guys in.”

Ryan left 12 on base, 10 of which were stranded in scoring position.

Junior outfielder Jared Will provided Ryan’s second hit of the game with an RBI double to left-center field, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

In his first year as a varsity starter, Will is enjoying a good run at the plate. He was 4-for-4 in the first leg of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Troopers. On Thursday, he was a combined 3-for-6 at the plate with three runs scored.

“I’m just being more patient, finding my pitch,” Will said. “Early on in the year, I don’t think I had the best approach at the plate, and we’ve been talking about that lately, just trying to look for my pitch instead of chasing bad pitches.”

Will was the last Ryan player to score against Surrey-ORCS starter Brendan Larsen, who threw 87 pitches in four innings of work. Larsen surrendered three runs on four hits and five walks while striking out one.

Surrey-ORCS had a great chance to shrink its deficit in the fifth, but a costly baserunning error abruptly ended the inning.

With two outs, Ryan freshman infielder Eli Stewart committed an error that loaded the bases for the Mustangs, but Larsen overran second base, resulting in a rundown between second and third. The play ended with sophomore catcher Seth Aberle getting tagged out between third and home.

“We left way too many people on base,” Surrey-ORCS coach Bruce Mack said. “But it’ll come. We’re young, and we’re gonna keep scrapping. It’d just be nice to score some runs when we have those opportunities. We shot ourselves in the foot way too many times.”

Ryan also claimed the nightcap in three innings 11-1. Will notched the win,

giving up one run on four hits and one walk.

The Lions take on Des Lacs-Burlington at 4 p.m. Saturday at Jack Hoeven Park. Surrey-ORCS also battles the Lakers in its next game, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday in Surrey.

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