Vistas falter in final

Bismarck Governors capture tourney title in Minot

Vistas starting pitcher Blake Smith throws the ball toward home plate Sunday afternoon in Minot.

Three singles weren’t going to cut it.

The Minot Vistas’ offense fell flat in a 7-2 defeat to the Bismarck Governors in the championship game of the second annual Heilman’s Performance Invitational Sunday afternoon at Corbett Field.

“I’m fairly impressed we scored two runs with only three singles,” Vistas head coach Pat Arntson said. “But, I’m not impressed that we only had three singles. That makes it hard, especially against a team like Bismarck. They are really athletic, are going to swing it and take advantage of some of your mistakes. You have to play really clean and we didn’t play clean enough to beat a team like Bismarck today.”

The Vistas were held in check first by starting pitcher Skyler Riedinger. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing both Minot runs (one earned) on two hits. Riedinger racked up five strikeouts before giving way to relief pitchers Ben Weaver and Paydin Slette to finish the job.

“I don’t feel like we struck out a ton, but we didn’t put a lot of pressure on them,” Arntson said. “It was easy 6-3 groundouts to the shortstop and not a lot of high stress for their defense. They got to collect their outs pretty easily without a lot of guys on base.”

Trading runs through the first three innings, Bismarck scored first in the top of the first on an RBI sacrifice fly to center field by Cade Feeney. Minot answered in the second inning off an RBI groundout by Paxten Wahlund. RBI singles by Treyton Mattern and Feeney pulled the Governors ahead again in the third inning.

The Vistas plated their final run on a dropped third strike, with some heads up base running by Alex Schimke to score from second base, in the fourth inning.

“Whenever we play these better teams, we have to play very well,” Vistas infielder Carson Tonini said. “We can’t get sloppy. We can’t expect pitchers to give us runs. And, like we saw today, we have to hit. We can’t rely on the pitcher to make mistakes.”

Vistas starting pitcher Blake Smith was dealt the loss, going 5 1/3 innings with six runs allowed on seven hits. Smith loaded the bases before being pulled and watched on as reliever Derek Nygaard gave up an RBI single to Canaan Fagerland and a two-run single to Paxton Miller to inflate his stat line.

The three-run sixth inning and a passed ball to score another run in the seventh inning pushed the Governors to the tournament victory, 7-2.

Leadoff hitter Dawson Weikum went 3-for-4 with three runs scored for Bismarck. Feeney also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Minot’s three inadequate singles came from Kyler Stenberg, Johnny Tubbs and Creighton Rudolph.

“We didn’t perform like we wanted to,” Tonini said. “We are all kind of disappointed about it, but there is still a lot of baseball left in the season. So, we are going to kind of forget about this and look forward to the games to come.”

The Vistas are back in action on Friday (5:30 p.m.) against Williston at Corbett Field.

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.