By MIKE KRAFT
Velva-Drake-Anamoose senior Drew Effertz delivers a pitch during the first inning against Surrey-Our Redeemer’s on Tuesday.
VELVA - Neither Velva-Drake-Anamoose head coach Matt Weidler nor assistant coach Brent Engebretson had any idea that senior Drew Effertz was three outs away from a no-hitter.
That's why they opted for sophomore Shad Vedaa to pitch the final inning. Vedaa preserved the no-hitter, but it wasn't until the coaching staff took a closer look at the scorebook that they noticed what their pitching staff had accomplished.
Effertz went six innings, surrendering an unearned run in the second inning while striking out nine and walking two in a 9-1 victory over Surrey-Our Redeemer's Christian School on Tuesday. Vedaa induced a flyout and struck out two to close out the game.
"Those guys are around the strike zone," Weidler said. "That's Drew's third game throwing (this year), so we're pretty comfortable with him on the mound. He does a pretty good job of getting ahead of hitters, which he did today."
Effertz retired the Mustangs in order in the first, before they scratched across their only run of the game in the second. Junior Trevor Ringoen walked to lead off the frame and came around to score on a throwing error by senior Brad Dean with two outs.
Effertz was nearly untouchable from there. He struck out four straight batters and allowed just two baserunners in his final four innings of work - two walks and an error.
"My main focus was to try to throw more strikes," Effertz said. "I've been walking quite a few guys at the beginning of the year, so my main goal was to limit the walks, get ahead and work fast."
The Aggies (11-1 overall, 5-0 Region 6) gave Effertz plenty of run support, starting with four runs in the second. Dean atoned for his error with a two-RBI double to left-center, scoring seniors Robert Finneseth and Nate Monk.
"We preach to put the ball in play and make the other guys make plays," Weidler said. "Sometimes you get some of those that sneak through and we were able to capitalize with some runs off that. Those are the things we're going to have to do as the season goes on to contend and win a region title."
Effertz helped himself out at the plate, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Playing in their first game this season, the Mustangs (0-2, 0-1) committed four errors, leading to a slew of unearned runs. Surrey-ORCS had a chance to turn a double play in the third when junior Brady Engebretson grounded to short, but junior Noah Knipp and sophomore Seth Aberle couldn't complete the exchange at second base. Instead of recording two outs, the Mustangs didn't get any on the play, which led to a three-run inning and a 7-1 lead for the Aggies.
"We make two plays, we have a different ball game," Surrey-ORCS coach Bruce Mack said. "They scored probably seven of their runs on two plays we didn't make. One routine fly ball we don't catch and that double-play ball at short hurt really bad."
Ringoen took the loss on the mound for Surrey-ORCS, surrendering seven runs on seven hits over three innings. Junior Bridger Urban pitched the final three innings.
The Aggies won the nightcap - a non-region game - 10-0 in four innings.
V-D-A and Surrey-ORCS both play region contests Thursday. The Aggies travel to Sawyer and the Mustangs host Bishop Ryan.
Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.