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Vistas dominate Pierre 9-1 to complete perfect tournament showing

Photos courtesy of Sean Arbaut Minot's Lofton Klabunde connects with a pitch during a Legion baseball game Sunday at Corbett Field in Minot.

Corbett Field has been a safe haven for the Minot Vistas this season.

After thrashing Pierre Post 8, S.D., 9-1 Sunday in the Heilman’s Performance Invitational championship, the Vistas improved their record at Corbett Field to 10-1 this season. In their three-day home tournament, Minot was a perfect 3-0 in pool play, then took down Inside Pitch 8-7 in the semifinals before besting Pierre Post 8 in the finale.

“Early in this tournament we saw some games that we thought might go a different direction. We thought they would be a little bit tighter right away, but the last two days we’ve seen some of the toughest arms we’ve seen all year,” Vistas coach Pat Arntson said. “We battled today and did what we had to, we couldn’t have really performed much better than we did.”

Minot pitcher Paxten Wahlund turned in a dominating performance on a mound, allowing one run on three hits in six innings while picking up the win.

“I felt pretty good, I just wanted to go out and throw strikes,” Wahlund said. “(Minot catcher) Creighton Rudolph did a great job calling for my offspeed stuff and I thought that worked out really well. We ended up getting a lot of ground balls and soft fly balls all game.”

Lofton Klabunde started the scoring for the Vistas by roping an RBI double to score Rudolph and gave his team an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Pierre catcher Peyton Zabel answered by capitalizing on Wahlund’s lone mistake of the day, mashing an offspeed pitch over the left field fence for a solo home run in the top of the second.

“I think Paxten did an unreal job on the mound today mixing up speeds and location,” Arntson said. “He was consistently attacking them. When you constantly throw the soft stuff in the zone, it can be tough for the opponents to square up. He only made one pitch he’d want to have back against a lineup with a lot of college bats, so I thought he was excellent.”

Pierre starter Garrett Stout ran into control problems in the second inning, walking in two runs with the bases loaded to give the Vistas a 3-1 lead.

Stout took the loss for Pierre after allowing eight runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings while walking four batters.

The Vistas broke open the game with a five-run fourth inning. Rudolph laced a two-RBI single with the bases loaded, Klabunde knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly and Derek Bartsch put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-run homer.

Easton Bennett scored Minot’s final run on a wild pitch in the sixth inning.

The Vistas tallied eight hits and didn’t commit any errors.

“This was probably the first game where we were did all three facets well between hitting, defense and pitching,” Arntson said. “Usually, we’ll just have two out of three.”

Bartsch was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored, while Bennett and Rudolph each scored three runs.

Minot is back in action at 5 p.m. Thursday in a road contest against Williston.

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge.