MANDAN - This time, the Minot Vistas didn't have a rally in them.
The steady pitching of Fargo righthander Connor Robley shut down Minot, and top-seeded Post 2 eliminated the Vistas from the American Legion Class A state tournament 9-2 Saturday evening.
But that's not the game the No. 5 Vistas will remember.
Minot Vistas second baseman Marcus Quist tags out Grand Forks’ Nick Moe on a stolen base attempt during their game at the American Legion Class A state tournament Saturday in Mandan.
They scored eight runs in the eighth inning to beat No. 3 Grand Forks 11-10 in a heated game Saturday morning. The dramatic win followed the Vistas' 3-2 walk-off win Thursday against Jamestown.
"Definitely some magical things happening," Vistas third baseman Micah Holmen said. "I think this is the most fun a lot of us have had playing the game. I don't even know how to put it into words eight runs in the bottom of the eighth - I've never seen that before."
Holmen led off the Vistas' rally against Grand Forks with a single, then capped it with a two-RBI double to give the Vistas the lead. Ben Magnuson - Minot's fifth pitcher of the game - threw a scoreless ninth inning for the save.
Grand Forks starter Taylor Steen gave up just four hits before the eighth inning, but seven consecutive Vistas reached base - chasing the righthander and reliever Blake Kemnitz from the game.
"I knew I was leading off and I went up to Kolton Larson and I said, 'Let's string somethin' together,' " Holmen said. "I didn't know it was gonna lead to that."
Vistas coach Todd Larson said it was fitting that Holmen played a key role in the rally.
"He really took that leadership role, both verbally and physically, and just played his heart out," Larson said. "That's what's fun for (assistant coach) Andy (Lach) and I - you see these kids come back from college and they put their heart and soul into the program."
Holmen and Kolton Larson each had two doubles and three hits to lead the Vistas.
In the Vistas' second game Saturday, Robley kept Minot down by relying on his fastball and a vertically breaking curveball. He had nine strikeouts in eight innings and caused the Vistas to repeatedly roll over the ball and hit into routine groundouts.
Fargo center fielder Matt Schalow batted 4-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs.
Todd Larson said the Vistas struggled against Robley and simply ran out of energy.
"The kids play hard. Sometimes that doesn't translate into wins or tournament championships but when you see this going on here," Larson said, gesturing to his teary-eyed players, "you know we have a good bunch of young men that really care about their teammates and really care about the program. And that's really cool."
Despite the Vistas' 2-2 record and elimination before today's championship, Minot's players likely won't forget this tournament. The excitement of the comeback wins over Grand Forks and Jamestown won't let them.
"Both were unbelievable," Holmen said. "This is the most fun I've ever had. I'll remember good things to take away from this tournament."