Velva walks off with 5-4 win over Bishop Ryan

VELVA – Whenever Bishop Ryan and Velva-Drake-Anamoose meet up on the baseball diamond, an interesting and entertaining game unfolds.

Thursday’s pivotal Region 6 contest was no different.

The outcome of the game was not determined until the bottom of the seventh when a single by senior Bryce Florence gave the Aggies a 5-4 walkoff win over the Lions. The win secured a regular-season split between the two schools.

“We played well,” V-D-A coach Matt Weidler said. “In baseball, you have blunders, but we stuck with it.”

The Aggies opened the scoring with a run in the second inning as sophomore Aaron Dean, who doubled, scored on a wild pitch. Senior Jeseb Mogen opened the inning with a double of his own, but was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice by senior Brady Irmen.

In the third, V-D-A (3-3 Region 6) added to its lead with a pair of runs. Sophomore Nick Effertz scored on a double by Mogen. Moments later, Mogen scored on a ground out by Dean.

“We played a lot better than what we have been,” Ryan coach Fred Nelson said. “Both teams pitched well.”

The Lions got a run back in their half of the fourth inning, as senior Jesse VerBruggen doubled home junior Derek Bartsch.

After Effertz singled home senior Kobe Bright in the fifth to give the Aggies a 4-1 lead, it seemed the two-time defending region champions were on their way to their third region win of the season.

But it wouldn’t come so easy.

The Lions plated two runs in the sixth to pull back to within 4-3.

Freshman Luke Voorhies logged an RBI single, while Bartsch added an RBI ground out to cut Ryan’s deficit to one.

“We played with a little more urgency,” Nelson said. “I would like to see that earlier in the game.”

Ryan (1-5) tied the game in the seventh, as junior Eli Stewart – who finished with three hits in the game – doubled. He moved to third on a sacrifice fly by Bartsch, and came home on a two-out single by freshman Mason Hedberg.

“We put some runners on, and they came out and hit it,” Weidler said. “Credit them. They hit the ball.”

But the Aggies also hit the ball in their half of the seventh.

Effertz led off the inning with a single, and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Ryan third baseman. However, Dean then lined out to Hedberg at second, who was able to double off Mogen at first. Mogen, who finished 2-for-4, reached base on the error.

And just when it seemed the game was destined for extra innings, Florence drove a pitch into left field for the game winner.

Effertz pitched a complete game for V-D-A to earn the win. He allowed four runs on six hits, while striking out six and walking three.

“Nick did a dynamite job,” Weidler said. “He was getting ahead of the hitters.”

VerBruggen – who had struck out 12 in the previous matchup between the two teams on April 19 at Jack Hoeven Park – was the tough-luck loser. He allowed five runs on eight hits, while striking out six and walking four.

Even amid the loss, Nelson was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We were excited to be playing,” Nelson said. “We got down early, but they didn’t hang their heads.”

V-D-A plays at Harvey-Wells County today, while Ryan hosts Lewis & Clark-Parshall and Rugby on Saturday at Hoeven Park.

Mark Jones covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @hoopsfan27_MDN.