Playing seventh-inning baseball every inning has been the motto for the Minot Metros Junior American Legion baseball team all season.
On Tuesday against Dickinson, the Metros picked a good time to live by that mantra, trailing late with their backs to the wall in both contests.
In the opener, Minot scored three runs in the seventh and walked off on Trail Haskins' walk with the bases loaded for a 5-4 victory. The Metros completed the sweep by scoring five unanswered runs in their final two innings in an 8-6 win in their home finale at Corbett Field.
Minot’s Conor Taney comes around to score the tying run in the seventh inning of the Metros’ 5-4 walk-off victory in the opener against Dickinson on Tuesday at Corbett Field.
Garrett Larson finished the doubleheader 4-for-7 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
"It was nice to see because we've been preaching to focus and work even harder," Minot coach Jason Steele said. "We've been preaching to play seventh-inning baseball every inning and we got that in those innings today."
Minot (20-12) trailed 4-2 entering the seventh inning after surrendering four unanswered runs over the final two frames. The Metros loaded the bases with no outs before Noah Tate was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice.
Easton Bennett delivered with a two-run single to left on Minot's next at-bat to tie the game at 4. Dickinson intentionally walked Derek Bartsch to reload the bases and Haskins walked on five pitches to bring in Jesse Roberts for the game-winning run.
"Minot came up with some big hits when they needed them and their pitching was pretty good today," Dickinson coach Jason Watson said. "They took care of business. They earned the victories. They got it done."
Conor Taney went 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored and Garrett Larson finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in the opener.
"We're getting stronger," Taney said. "One thing we need at state is for everybody to hit up and down the lineup and I feel today we did pretty well. If we play seven-inning baseball the whole game we'll be fine."
Tyler Mosser notched the win on the hill, pitching all seven innings. He scattered seven hits and took a no-hitter into the fourth. Mosser struck out three and walked four.
Fresh off the walk-off victory, the Metros jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning of the finale. Bennett scored Eli Stewart on a sacrifice fly, Taney came around on a wild pitch and Derek Bartsch drove in Roberts with an RBI single to right.
After plating a run in the third, the Volunteers got to Bennett - Minot's starting pitcher - in the fifth. The first seven Dickinson batters reached base. The Volunteers strung together four hits and took advantage of two Minot errors to grab a 6-3 lead.
The Metros responded in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring three runs to tie the game. Stewart led off with a walk and Taney connected on a single to center field, but came all the way around to score thanks to two Dickinson errors on the play.
Larson tied the game later in the inning with an RBI single up the middle to plate Bennett with two outs.
Minot reclaimed the lead with one out in the sixth when Taney tripled to deep right-center, scoring Tate, who led off the inning with a single. Taney later scored on a passed ball.
"It was good not only because it's our last home doubleheader, but we're eight days away from opening up at the state tournament, so it was good to play solid baseball today," Steele said. "There were times where we didn't have things clicking on all cylinders, but we found a way to win. We found a way to get guys on and found a way to come back and win."
The Metros close out the regular season with a doubleheader in Devils Lake today beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Mike Kraft covers the Minot Vistas and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.