SURREY - The Surrey Blue Sox American Legion baseball team entered Monday's pair of games hoping for a split.
They did one better after defeating Bottineau 12-2 in six innings to collect two important victories as Surrey aims to climb to .500 before the end of the regular season. The Blue Sox began the day with a 6-3 victory against Burlington in the first of three games played at Surrey High School.
"Getting a sweep was definitely exciting," Surrey coach Jeremy Feller said. "You can't ask for a better time to be playing well than at the end of the season."
Surrey shortstop Cole Jones looks to turn a double play after recording an out against Bottineau’s Zack Johnson at second Monday at Surrey High School.
The Blue Sox received contributions down the lineup as all nine batters reached base at least once and eight recorded runs against Bottineau. First baseman Dillon Jones scored in his first three plate appearances. He tallied the first run of the game after scoring all the way from second with shortstop Cole Jones in a rundown. Cole Jones made it safely back to first on the play.
Surrey (10-11) broke the game open with eight runs between the third and fourth innings. The Blue Sox recorded just five hits during that span, but took advantage of Bottineau miscues and pitcher Cody Brooks' struggles finding the strike zone. Bottineau (3-9) committed five errors and Brooks walked six and hit two others.
"We just tried to make outs that weren't there," Bottineau coach Derek Aus said. "We were trying to hard to make plays and that just catches up with you."
Dylan Enget was working on a shutout heading into the fifth inning. One out away from ending the game on the 10-run mercy rule, Enget allowed a two-run double to Ethan McCloud to prolong the game. Enget minimalized the damage by getting Trent LaFountain to fly out and strand three runners. The right-handed hurler struck out just two, but was confident in the defense behind him.
"That was my key to the game," Enget said. "I didn't want to have to overthrow. I didn't want to try to overthrow just to get it all done by myself. It's a team game."
Enget earned the victory by tossing six innings of four-hit ball.
"Dylan threw strikes," Feller said. "He got ahead of hitters early and that helped. Bottineau's a good baseball team and to beat them 12-2, I think we're peaking at the right time."
It seemed fitting that the game ended on a Bottineau error. Catcher Chance Smith singled to left field to score Chris Olson and an error on the relay allowed Brendan Larson to score from first.
Surrey plays Velva at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Bottineau's next game is in the Section 5 tournament in Cando.
Surrey 6, Burlington 3
SURREY - Surrey pitcher Brendan Larson said he didn't have his best stuff Monday, but is was still enough for the Blue Sox to get by Burlington in a 6-3 final.
Larson tossed a complete game, scattering 11 hits, walking three and striking out eight to earn the victory. Larson pitched himself out of trouble in the seventh after an RBI double by Burlington's Cole Grosche put runners on second and third with no outs and cut the Blue Sox lead to three. But Larson struck out Tanner Johnson, got Dylan Schestler to fly out to shallow center and struck out Mark DeChandt looking to end the game.
"That was probably one of my worst outings all year," Larson said. "I couldn't get my footing on the mound. The ball was everywhere."
The Bulldogs took an early 1-0 lead in the first, but the Blue Sox countered with six unanswered runs stretching from the second to the fifth inning. Surrey's heart of the order - Dylan Enget and Dillon Jones - provided the bulk of the Blue Sox's run support. The duo went 4 for 7 with five RBIs and a run scored. Enget and Jones connected on back-to-back doubles in the fifth, plating three runs in the process.
The Blue Sox left seven runners on base, including three in the sixth inning.
"I thought we played better, but we still have to find a way to not leave so many runners on base," Surrey coach Jeremy Feller said. "That's kind of been the plague of our season. We seem to be able to get guys on base, but not score them."
Larson helped out his own cause at the plate, going 2 for 2 with two walks and two runs scored.
Burlington had its chances to score, but untimely base running miscues proved costly. The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the fourth with one out, but Cole Zietz strayed too far from first on an infield fly and was doubled off to end the inning.
Despite the missed opportunities, Burlington coach Jason Brooking said he was happy with the way his team played.
"We've been struggling all season so this is one of our more successful games," he said. "The players stepped up. It doesn't show up on the scoreboard, but we played a lot better."
Schestler suffered the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing six runs on eight hits in six innings pitched.
Bottineau 11, Burlington 1 (5 innings)
SURREY - Bottineau needed just five hits to dispose of Burlington 11-1 in five innings. The Bulldogs did the rest to keep themselves winless as the end of the season approaches.
Burlington committed eight errors, leading to prolonged innings and a slew of unearned runs off starting pitcher Alex Davy. The Bulldogs recorded four errors in the third inning, allowing Bottineau to bring 12 batters to the plate and score seven runs on just two hits.
"That's been our norm this year," Burlington coach Jason Brooking said. "With 10 players throughout the season, it's hard because you get into a rut and it's hard to get back out of it."
All nine Bottineau batters reached base at least once and eight tallied runs. Cody Brooks led the offense, going 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
"We haven't been playing as well lately so it was good to see them come back and get the bat on the ball," Bottineau coach Derek Aus said. "Hopefully it gets our spirits up and we can get on a roll."
Bottineau starting pitcher Christian McCloud didn't need the surplus of run support to earn the victory. McCloud tossed a complete-game four-hitter, striking out five.
Brooking was unsure of Burlington's record when asked, but said they hadn't won a game this season.
Burlington travels to play Harvey at 5:30 p.m. today.