It took 14 batters for Minot High to finally muster a hit, and top-ranked Magicians managed just four altogether. That was enough to edge Mandan 2-1 in each team's season opener Friday at Corbett Field.
Junior pitchers Chandler Jacob, Demitry Zafra and Shawn Danielson combined for a two-hitter, with none coming in the final three innings.
"We stayed around long enough, and pitching kept us there," Minot coach Pete Stenberg said. "Chandler probably wasn't as sharp, but for his first outing, I think he did a nice job."
Minot High junior Wesley Johnson forces out Mandan’s Jeremy Friesz at second base during the Magicians’ season-opening 2-1 win Friday at Corbett Field.
Minot junior Chandler Jacob rips a single to center in the fifth inning of Game 1, driving in Wesley Johnson to tie the game at 1.
Jacob tossed three innings of one-hit ball. He allowed an unearned run in the second inning, dealt three walks and struck out four.
For the early part of the season, Stenberg plans to limit his pitching staff to between 50 and 60 pitches per outing
Zafra picked up the win in relief, limiting Mandan to three baserunners over three innings, with none advancing past first base.
Sophomore Grant Larson ended Mandan ace Parker Harm's no-hit bid in the fourth inning with a line-drive single down the first baseline, but the Magicians needed five innings to plate a run.
In the fifth, Zafra sacrificed for his own cause and Jacob took himself off the hook for a potential loss.
Junior Wesley Johnson reached on an error with one out in the fifth and Zafra laid down a sacrifice bunt to put his classmate in scoring position. Jacob delivered with a frozen-rope single to center, tying the game at 1.
"We hadn't got many hits and it was kind of redemption for the slow starting pitching and all that, so it worked out good," Jacob said.
The next inning, seniors Brady Lampert and Jacob Holmen both doubled to secure the final lead.
"It was a team effort - we had three guys that came through with three big hits at the right time to get the RBIs," Stenberg said. "We ended up getting a 'W' out of it."
Danielson held the Braves hitless in the seventh inning to notch the save and move Minot to 1-0 in West Region play.
Halm, a lefty, allowed two hits and two walks and struck out five in a no-decision. Junior reliever Bryce Andresen took the loss.
"Parker gave us a great chance with the game he threw," Mandan coach Dewitt Mack said. "We just needed to get a few more timely hits and it's probably going the other way."
In the nightcap, which didn't count toward region standings, Mandan scored five runs in the fourth inning of a 10-2 victory. Minot used four pitchers, with starter Travis Walker suffering the loss. The Magicians managed one hit.
"Had trouble throwing strikes a little bit and we just didn't get the bats going," Walker said. "As the season goes on, we're going to have to win those second games and want to win them just as much as the first ones."
Minot hosts Jamestown at 2 and 4 p.m. today at Corbett Field.
Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.