At this time last season, Bishop Ryan junior Josh Schell was having success as the No. 9 hitter in the lineup.
This season, the right fielder continues to give opposing pitchers fits despite making the move to the heart of the Lions' batting order at the No. 3 position in front of clean-up hitter Mason Kramer.
Schell put forth another solid performance at the plate Thursday, going 2-for-2 with a game-high three RBIs in a 9-4 victory against Velva-Drake-Anamoose in the Region 6 tournament at Jack Hoeven Park.
"You still have to make big plays," said Schell, who also walked twice. "You have to go up there and hit the ball. It's nothing different. You just go up there and swing the bat and make contact with it. That's all you have to worry about."
The Lions advance to the region title game today at 4 p.m. against V-D-A, which beat Surrey-Our Redeemer's Christian School 6-4 Thursday night to earn another shot at Ryan. The Lions need just one victory to ensure a spot in the state tournament, while the Aggies must win twice to advance.
Ryan surrendered an unearned run in each of the first two innings and trailed 2-1 entering the fourth. The Lions played error-free baseball the next three innings as the offense picked up. Ryan loaded the bases with one out in the fourth before V-D-A starting pitcher Drew Effertz walked Schell to drive in the tying run. Kramer followed with a two-RBI single to give the Lions their first lead of the game.
The Lions added to their lead with four more runs in the fifth for a 9-2 advantage. Schell drove in two with a base hit to left field with runners on second and third.
"That's why he's up there at No. 3," Ryan coach Brent Nelson said. "He hits the ball well. When you got a guy behind you in Mason Kramer who can hit the ball anywhere, we have to look to them and they did their job today."
The Aggies used three pitchers. Drew Effertz threw the first four innings before sophomore Isaac Effertz came in and allowed four runs in one-third of an inning. Classmate Brady Engebretson tossed the final 2 2/3. The defense behind them committed three errors.
"We kind of beat ourselves up," V-D-A coach Gene Buen said. "You have to make a play. When you don't, that's what happens."
Ryan starting pitcher Austin Eggl lasted three innings before sophomore Tanner Sanders threw the final four innings. Eggl surrendered two runs on four hits, striking out three. Sanders allowed two runs in the seventh, but got the final three batters to ground out to end the game.
"(Eggl) was wearing down a little and he knew he didn't have his best stuff," Nelson said. "We went with Tanner and he's pitched great all year. He's been that guy to come in there and do the job."
H-WC advances to state
CANDO - The Harvey-Wells County baseball team punched its ticket to next week's Class B state tournament with a 3-2 victory over North Star-Leeds in the Region 5 championship game on Thursday.
Senior Todd Selzler threw six innings to pick up the win and classmate Austin Schmidt came on in the seventh for the save. Selzler led the Hornets with a 3-for-4 game at the plate and junior Mark Nyhus went 2-for-4 with a double.
Senior Daniel Grande batted 3-for-4 with two RBIs to pace the Bearcats.
The Hornets play the Region 1 champion in the first round of the state tournament Thursday at Mandan's Memorial Ballpark.
Beulah tops WWCS in R5 championship
WASHBURN - Beulah senior Cody Nelson tossed a complete game four-hitter Thursday against Washburn-Wilton-Center-Stanton to give the Miners a 9-1 victory in the Region 5 championship and a berth in next week's Class B state tournament.
Beulah seniors Brett Koch and Logan Behm batted 3-for-4 and 2-for-3, respectively, as the Miners scored in five of their six trips to the plate.
Zach Hruby went 2-for-3 to lead W-W-C-S.
Beulah opens the state tournament Thursday at Mandan's Memorial Ballpark against the Region 2 champion.
Trenton-Trinity Christian beat Lewis & Clark 7-3 to advance to state out of Region 7.