BERTHOLD - For some teams, one or two runs can be enough with the right pitcher on the mound. For Burlington on Wednesday, that pitcher was Alex Davy.
Having pitched in a losing effort against the Blue Sox eight days prior in Surrey, Davy was dominant against the same team in Berthold, tossing a complete game shutout while allowing just two hits and one walk in a 2-0 Burlington victory.
"I was locating really well with my fastball," said Davy, who induced nine ground-ball outs. "That let me get some easy ground balls and my teammates made plays for me."
Davy didn't have many nervous moments throughout the game, but that isn't to suggest Surrey didn't have its chances to score.
The best of those opportunities came in the third inning when the first three batters reached safely for the Blue Sox in a scoreless game.
But the Bulldogs found a way out of the jam. The next at-bat, Surrey starter Jesse VerBruggen sent a sharp grounder to Burlington third baseman Jarret Vendsel, who threw to catcher Justin Thompson for the force out. Thompson's ensuing relay to first was just in time to complete the 2-5-3 double play.
With runners still on second and third, Davy induced the third out of the inning against Surrey catcher Grant Larson with a routine grounder to short.
Surrey left 10 runners on base, five of which were left stranded in scoring position.
"About every single inning, we had a chance to score runners," Surrey coach Jeremy Feller said. "That's been our downfall this year. If we can find a way to score runs, looking back I don't think there's a game that we would have lost this year possibly.
"We've been leaving double-digit guys on base and half of those are in scoring position. We just need to find ways to be more productive."
The Blue Sox had another chance to get on the board in the fourth.
After back-to-back singles to start the inning, Surrey's John Reiten advanced to third on a 4-6 fielder's choice, putting runners on the corners with one out.
And then just as soon as a threat began to materialize, it was nullified. With Bridger Urban at the dish, Thompson picked Reiten off at third during the at-bat. Moments later, Urban struck out to end the inning.
"There were a couple situations like that where we had the meat of our order up with guys in scoring position and they got out of it. It seemed like they built on it and we went in the other direction," Feller said. "Baseball is a funny game. You've gotta be short-minded and forget about what happens and refocus, and we lost focus today."
Burlington notched its first run in the third.
Leadoff man Noah Zietz reached safely on a fielder's choice, followed by consecutive stolen bases which put him at third. After a Vandsel walk, VerBruggen generated the second out of the inning by striking out Cole Grosche.
But the third strike bounced from Larson's glove and to the backstop, giving Zietz the freedom to snatch a 1-0 Burlington lead.
In the fifth, Grosche drove in Zietz with an RBI single to center.
Surrey swept the Bulldogs in a doubleheader last week. Burlington coach Andrew Roach was pleased with the way his team responded Wednesday.
Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.