Aggies advance to state semifinals

JAMESTOWN – Velva-Drake-Anamoose senior starter Drew Effertz was tired after Thursday night’s Class B state quarterfinal in Jamestown.

Who can blame him? The lefty tossed 138 pitches in fewer than six innings of work.

“In the fifth and sixth my legs started to die on me a little bit,” said Effertz, who was pulled with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth. “I didn’t have my best stuff, but we battled through and got the win.”

Effertz’s hard work paid off for the fourth-seeded Aggies, who advanced to the state semifinals with a 7-3 win over Harvey-Wells County at Jack Brown Stadium. V-D-A takes on the tournament’s top seed – Watford City – at 6:30 p.m. today.

Effertz walked eight batters and was the first to admit that he didn’t have his best stuff. But the Aggies are in the semifinals, and that’s all that V-D-A coach Matt Weidler cares about.

“Baseball is a long game, it’s a funny game,” Weidler said. “But we won the game. That’s the important thing.”

Normally a composed team in the field, the Aggies lost their cool for a moment in the fourth in arguably the craziest play of the day.

With the bases loaded, Region 5 batting champion Mark Nyhus stepped to the plate, the Hornets trailing 2-0.

Nyhus knocked a dribbler up the first-base line and proceeded to elude the tag of V-D-A first baseman Nick Effertz, allowing Evan Nitz to score.

Then, H-WC sophomore Parker Bachmeier, who had been standing on second, came wheeling around third to tie it up. Nick Effertz held onto the ball a second too late, and Bachmeier slid in safely at home.

Nyhus, who had been standing at first waiting for Nick Effertz’s throw home, took off for second, drawing a throw from V-D-A catcher Marcus Mack. Nyhus slid safely into second while junior Shaun Kourajian came around from first to score the go-ahead run.

Ironically, that mishap may have helped the Aggies, particularly Drew Effertz.

“Once we kind of lost our heads there when we gave up the three runs, I actually started to pitch better,” said Drew Effertz, who surrendered three earned runs on four hits.

“The guys made plays,” Weidler added. “We had an ugly inning, but we responded well.”

V-D-A responded immediately in the bottom of the inning with Shad Vedaa scoring the tying run.

Three batters later, Drew Effertz helped his own cause with a two-run double to deep left, scoring senior Brad Dean and junior Isaac Effertz.

Runs in the fifth and sixth put V-D-A up by four.

Harvey-Wells County takes on Midkota today at 1:30 p.m in a consolation semifinal.

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