The sun dipped below the tree line just beyond right field at Corbett Field as the Minot Metros' final rally ended Monday evening.
The visiting Williston Oilers used an eight-run fifth inning to grab a sizable lead and killed Minot's rallies in every way imaginable during a 16-11, nine-inning victory.
After Minot (14-17) scored four consecutive runs to take a 4-2 lead through four innings, Williston, which plays in the Senior Babe Ruth League, chalked up six hits in the fifth to put the Metros in a gaping hole.
Metros designated hitter Andrew Arnold said that hole proved to be too large.
"The thing with nine innings is you have to make things happen every innings," Arnold said. "You can't wait. If you keep waiting and they keep scoring, you just get yourself into a hole, which is what happened tonight."
The Metros answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead to two before Williston (14-9) opened the sixth with three runs for a 12-8 advantage.
Williston coach Doug Richter said his batters fed off each other's success in putting up 20 hits
"I think a lot of times for us, our hitting's contagious," Richter said. "We got out to an early start, our guys had good approaches and we made things happen."
In the bottom of the sixth, Minot had perhaps its best chance to tie the game. It scored a run and loaded the bases with one out before a quick turn of events: Williston reliever Cole Weltikol picked off Minot's Travis Walker at third and struck out Eric Danielson to end the inning. Minot coach Jason Steele said his teams errors on the base path were crucial.
"It's a rally killer," Steele said. "When you get some guys on base and you're doing some good things at the plate and we're starting to get to the pitcher and kids are starting to get excited in the dugout and then we have a base-running mistake, it's just kind of a rally killer. And it's a boost for the other team more than anything."
The next inning, Williston catcher Ty Berg picked off Arnold at first for the first out. On the next pitch, Dalton Cooper struck out looking before Trevor Ringoen grounded into a fielder's choice two batters later to end the inning.
"The baserunning errors, they'll kill a rally every time." Arnold said. "It's something we need to fix."
Arnold and Tyler Steenerson scored in the ninth for Minot before three flyouts ended the game.
Weltikol picked up the victory for Williston while Minot starter Tyler Mosser suffered the loss.
Steele said the Metros' solid hitting was refreshing, and he's encouraged about that heading into Wednesday's 5:30 p.m. home doubleheader with Bismarck.
"We haven't put up double-digit runs in a while. I'll take that," Steele said. "We'll take that as a positive. We're going to focus on the positive, and that's that we put up 11 runs."
Ryan Holmgren covers Legion baseball and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgrenMDN.