In two games that couldn't have been more different, the Bishop Ryan baseball team came away with the same result in each - a win.
The Lions jumped out to a large lead against Des Lacs-Burlington in game one, but had to hold on down the stretch for a 9-6 victory. In game two, Ryan trailed for the first half of the game before scoring five runs in the fourth inning, defeating Lewis & Clark 9-5 to close out the regular season Tuesday at Jack Hoeven Park.
Ryan junior Mason Kramer reached base safely in his six plate appearances, finishing 4-for-5 with four RBIs and a hit by pitch. Kramer reached base on an error in his final at-bat of game two, driving in Jake Magnuson to break a 5-5 tie. He nearly homered in his first at-bat against L & C, but the wind kept the ball in play and Kramer settled for the Lions' only extra-base hit of the day.
Bishop Ryan sophomore Tanner Sanders swings at a pitch against Des Lacs-Burlington on Tuesday at Jack Hoeven Park.
"He's a tough out," Ryan coach Brent Nelson said. "That ball he hit to left would have been gone any other day. He crushes the ball and he's also got a good eye."
The Lions (10-1) took advantage of DL-B's shaky pitching to build a 9-0 lead at the end of the second inning. DL-B starter Justin Thomas suffered the loss despite facing just three batters. Thomas threw 14 pitches - 12 balls - before getting pulled by coach Andy Lach in favor of Austin Schestler. With the bases loaded, Kramer hit a two-RBI single to left field to open the scoring. Kramer recorded two of the team's five hits in game one.
Schestler struggled to find the plate, pegging six Ryan batters and walking four more. But the relief pitcher worked himself out of trouble in the third and fourth innings, keeping the Lions off the board.
The Lakers (6-7) fought back with a five-run fourth inning after posting a run in the third. Martin Kimball, Alex Davy and Cole Grosche all tallied RBIs in the fourth.
"It was good to see the kids battle back in the end," Lach said. "We made it a close baseball game. We had one good inning where we were able to capitalize on their mistakes. But that's baseball. You dig yourself a hole and you run out of time eventually."
Ryan junior Tyler Allers earned the game-one victory, allowing seven hits over five innings and striking out five.
In game two it was L & C (3-7) that built the early lead, scoring in each of the first three innings off Kramer. The Lions stayed within striking distance, trailing 5-4 after three.
"We haven't been hitting the ball very well, but today we put the bat on the baseball a lot more," L & C coach Fred Nelson said. "When you do that good things can happen for your team."
Jake Magnuson silenced the Wildcats' bats in two innings of relief, allowing one hit to earn the win. With L & C's offense in check, Ryan capitalized and took the lead in the fourth. After Tanner Sanders struck out to open the frame, the next six batters reached base. Junior Austin Eggl and Allers strung together back-to-back RBI singles to extend the lead after Kramer plated Magnuson on an error by the shortstop.
"It's nice to get two wins, especially that last one where we had to battle back," Kramer said. "That really helps you get ready for the region tournament when you get to play a game like that."
DL-B and L & C meet in a Region 7 tournament play-in game Thursday at 4 p.m. in Makoti. Ryan begins play in the Region 6 tournament Tuesday at Jack Hoeven Park.