Whether it’s in the field or at the dish, solid play can be contagious.
And it was for Minot High’s baseball team and in particular senior shortstop Conor Taney.
“Baseball is kind of one of those games where once you start doing bad, everything starts going bad, and when you’re doing well confidence builds and that’s why it went so well tonight,” Taney said. “When one person makes a good play, other people pick up on it and everybody picks up. That was key in Game 2.”
Taney logged three hits in the opener – while the Magicians logged 12 as a team – and flashed the leather on multiple occasions in the nightcap as Minot earned a sweep, winning 8-7 and 10-0, of the Sabres Tuesday night at Corbett Field.
Taney was locked in Game 1 at the plate – as where the rest of the Magicians, who logged a dozen hits – but it was his relief outing that was far more crucial.
Taney entered in the top of the fifth with the game tied at 7 with the bases juiced, and two outs and navigated his way out of the jam. He pitched two more innings of scoreless work – only allowing one base runner.
“Conor is guy that will come in a throw strikes,” Minot coach Pete Stenberg said. “He’s been real effective this year as both a starter and a reliever. We feel confident when he steps out on the hill that he will throw strikes, and let the defensive work behind him.”
Taney scored the walk-off run, coming across on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The game-deciding passed ball was just a small sample size as to the defensive problems the Sabres had on Tuesday.
Legacy committed five errors in the opener, two of which directly extended innings in which Minot scored.
“We gave them way too many outs that first game,” Legacy coach Zach Wentz said. “We gave them many of the runs they had. We need to control ourselves more than that and concentrate on what we are doing.”
Legacy defense was better in Game 2.
As was Minot’s offense.
The Magicians logged six hits all of which came with two outs.
“We tell our guys when we are in situations like that, that we need to extend the inning and we were able to do that,” Stenberg said. “We stayed focused and attacked the baseball a little better in Game 2. We strung together some hits in the third, so that was nice.”
Taney knocked in a team-high two and his two-run single was part of a four-run third that staked Minot to the early lead. The Magicians put a game-clinching five-spot up in the fifth.
Junior Easton Bennett pitched five innings of scoreless baseball, yielding just two hits while fanning a pair.
“He mixed his pitches up and he’s always right around the dish,” Stenberg said. “He came in and did his job, nice an relaxed for us, and it was effective.”
Bennett logged an RBI in both games while Owens registered a club-high three RBIs in the opener.
Minot plays at Williston on Friday before traveling to Mandan on Tuesday.
“We’ve got a big week ahead,” Stenberg said. “It’s the second half of the season now and its doesn’t get any easier.”
John Denega covers Minot High athletics, Minot State softball and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @JohnDenega_MDN.