Ryan victorious in regular-season finale
SURREY – When it comes to baseball rarities, a team committing seven errors in a single game is certainly not something you see every day. It’s even more rare for that team to win by seven runs.
Bishop Ryan defied the odds Tuesday, defeating Surrey-Our Redeemer’s Christian School 13-6 despite a wealth of sloppy play from both sides.
The Mustangs (6-10 overall, 4-6 Region 6), who were within a run of tying the Lions in the fourth inning, committed three errors along with 11 combined walks between pitchers Brendan Larson and Jacob Burckhard. The Lions committed seven errors, walking four batters and plunking three others in the process, but their offense carried them through what was an ugly game.
Surrey-ORCS coach Bruce Mack’s frustration was evident after his team’s loss.
“Same old story: missed opportunities,” Mack said. “At this point in the season, we can’t mistakes like that. Ryan’s too good to make mistakes like that. We shot ourselves in the foot multiple times, and if we don’t fix it, it’s not gonna get any better.”
The first two runs of the game came on outs. Ryan senior Mason Kramer plated leadoff man Nick Berentson in the top of the first via fielder’s choice, followed by junior Dakota Johnson’s sacrifice fly to center field two at-bats later.
The Mustangs didn’t trail for long.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, junior Noah Knipp took full advantage of the out-blowing wind with a two-run dinger.
Surrey-ORCS has played Ryan tough in the past.
On April 15, the Mustangs battled to a 6-0 loss against the Lions at Corbett Field, a result that could have been much closer had Surrey-ORCS taken advantage of its scoring opportunities. The Mustangs limited a normally potent Ryan lineup to five hits that day.
Surrey-ORCS also led Velva-Drake-Anamoose (16-3 overall, 8-0 region) by three runs during a Region 6 contest last week.
“That’s encouraging, but we’re out of season. We don’t have 15 more games to be better. We need to be better now,” Mack said. “Yeah, we’ve hung in there with Velva, we’ve hung in there with Ryan twice, but we just beat ourselves.
“We help every team beat us. That’s where we’re at right now.”
The Mustangs began to lose their composure in the final four innings.
Surrey-ORCS walked nine batters during that span while conceding 11 runs, including a three-run blast from Kramer in the seventh.
Ryan coach Brent Nelson was pleased to see his team win but understands that with less than a week before the region tournament, his team still has room for improvement.
“We had five guys go down on strikes. I don’t like that,” Nelson said. “We gotta be more aggressive and have a little more fun out there. We’ve got guys that are looking for a walk, and we can’t have that. If that ball is there, I want them attacking it and hitting the ball around.”
Ryan left eight men on base, six of which were left in scoring position.
In the second game, it was more of the same for the Lions. Ten fourth-inning runs from Ryan triggered the 10-run rule, ending the game with a 15-0 final score. Berentson tossed three hitless innings for the Lions in the win.
Pitching has been a weapon for Ryan all season, one that could play to the Lions’ advantage in the region tournament.
“We’ve been giving up too many unearned runs, but the pitching has always been there,” Ryan senior catcher Jake Magnuson said. “So as long as we hit and field, we should be OK.”
“I like us in a tournament,” Nelson added. “We have some good pitching, and that will definitely help us. When you play regular season games, teams usually throw their best against us, but in regionals, you’ve gotta win three games.”
The first round of the Region 6 tournament begins Friday.
Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.