MHS wins 5th straight West Region contest

A nagging head cold wasn’t about to keep senior Chandler Jacob from making his scheduled start against Century on Saturday.

Instead, the right-hander went the distance, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out seven in Minot’s 4-2 victory over the Patriots at Corbett Field. Chandler retired nine of the final 11 batters he faced as the Magicians won their fifth straight West Region game. Century won the nightcap 5-0.

“Chandler Jacob came out and played a heck of a game for us,” Minot coach Pete Stenberg said. “As the game went on he got stronger and wanted to get the ‘W’ and he competed today. He’s been struggling a little with a head cold the last two days and really stepped up. He didn’t want to come off the hill and that’s the type of competitor he is.”

Both starting pitchers were on their game as runs and hits were at a premium, especially in the early going. Century’s Dalton Feeney retired the first eight batters he faced before surrendering a walk to Minot sophomore Ben Bolinske with two outs in the third inning. Alex Mack recorded the Magicians’ first hit of the contest to lead off the fourth.

Jacob retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced. Feeney singled with two outs in the first, but was thrown out by senior catcher Kolton Larson trying to steal second to end the inning. Larson threw out two baserunners in the opener.

The Patriots broke through in the fourth, grabbing a 1-0 lead on Minot’s only error of the contest. After Tanner Wolf doubled to lead off the inning, Feeney grounded a ball to first baseman Grant Larson. Chandler moved off the mound to cover first, but Larson sailed an underhand toss over Chandler’s head, allowing Wolf to score.

The Magicians (14-10 overall, 8-4 region) limited the damage to just one run in the inning as Chandler struck out Luke Leingang looking and got Mason Przybilla to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Minot shook off the miscue and responded with three runs in the fifth to take its only lead. Like Century, Minot’s first run was the result of an error. Hunter Duttenhefer led off the inning with a double to left-center and scored when Century’s Joel Thune threw wide of first base on a sacrifice bunt by Minot senior Jacob Holmen to tie the game.

“We made some plays and we missed on making some plays,” Century co-coach Kent Schweigert said. “We had an error that gave them an extra out and they capitalized on it.”

The Magicians took the lead one batter later when Wesley Johnson singled to center, plating Holmen. Johnson scored three batters later on an RBI single by Alex Mack that dropped just inside the left-field foul line.

“He throws a lot harder than what we’re used to and we just had to get used to the speed,” Holmen said of Feeney. “He throws it very straight, so once you can time him up, you’re able to hit him.”

Minot added an insurance run in the sixth. Kolton Larson doubled to left field to open the frame and pinch runner Travis Walker advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Grant Larson. Walker scored on an RBI single by Duttenhefer.

“It came down to small ball,” Stenberg said. “We did some bunting situations, came up with some key hits and Chandler just shut the door. It takes all three parts of the game and we had that today.”

The Patriots (16-9, 8-4) led from start to finish in the finale, scoring three runs in the first inning. That was all the run support Cyril Nagurski would need as he tossed a complete-game one-hitter, striking out nine and walking three.

Century’s Cole Foss went 2-for-3 with a triple, double and two RBIs.

Johnson had Minot’s lone hit – a single to right field to lead off the game.

“It’s always good to come back and win that second game,” Schweigert said. “We stress it’s important to get some swings in and I thought our pitcher did an outstanding job on the mound. That’s a big confidence builder for him.”

The Magicians travel to St. Mary’s on Tuesday.

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.