Aggies baseball uses a seventh-inning rally to stun Surrey
SURREY — Getting his arm loose in foul territory prior to the first game of a doubleheader against Surrey, Velva/Drake-Anamoose senior starting pitcher Hayden Lee unloaded a pitch that went over the fence and hit the broad side of the Aggies’ dugout.
Lee chuckled and shrugged off the errant pitch. The bad omen surfaced a few more times in the game, which allowed the Surrey Mustangs to build up a 3-1 lead.
The Aggies’ bats, however, had Lee’s back.
Down to its final strike, VDA scored the tying and go-ahead run on a base hit by sophomore Gunnar Mogen. The Aggies then worked through a bases loaded, one-out jam in the bottom half to narrowly grab a Region 6 victory, 4-3, in Surrey.
“We stole that one,” VDA head coach Matt Weidler said. “We got lucky there and sometimes that is OK. It was good to see the guys battle. They found a way to put the ball in play and force throws. But, we have to get better.”
VDA ran circles around the bases in the second game of the doubleheader for a 19-7 five-inning victory to earn the sweep.
The opening game started off as a pitcher’s duel between Lee and Surrey sophomore Collin Headrick. Lee was erratic at times, but kept working out of trouble.
“Hayden (Lee) was a little inconsistent at times,” Weidler said. “But he did enough for us to have a chance at the end.”
Headrick got the early run support by taking one for the team.
The Mustangs picked up the first two runs in the bottom of the third inning with Headrick getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Alexander Hansen send an RBI sacrifice fly to right field.
The Aggies first hit came in the fourth and then they pulled a run back in the fifth on a throwing error. Later in the inning, VDA was tagged out at home twice on a safety squeeze and a passed ball that was corralled in time.
Surrey was gifted an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth on a throwing error off a steal attempt at second base, 3-1.
“We came out a little slow and didn’t hit the ball very well,” Mogen said. “But, we got it done in the end.”
After VDA’s Colton Frankl leadoff the seventh and final inning with a triple, Headrick tossed two straight strikeouts to get the Mustangs an out away from a victory.
The Aggies dug deep. With a walk and bloop single to center field — with three Mustangs converging on the ball, but unable to make the catch — Mogen stepped to the plate with the game on the line.
“I was just thinking that I have to put the ball in play and give my team a chance to score,” Mogen said. “I was fortunate enough to get a base hit over second and they made some throwing errors that got my guys in.”
VDA took a 4-3 lead into the bottom half where Surrey promptly loaded the bases with only one out. A pop out and a groundout secured a heart-pounding win.
The nightcap featured 26 runs scored. After the first inning, the score was the same as the final score of Game 1, 4-3 VDA.
The Aggies didn’t stop there and piled on, scoring in all five inning. The biggest blow was an eight-run fifth inning to put the contest far out of reach.
“We got a lot of walks,” Weidler said. “But, at the same time, we started off well with guys getting good swings on the ball. Late in the game, we saw a lot of pitches… So, it’s good to see us score runs and be patient at the plate.”
Surrey, despite putting up seven runs, didn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Aggies.
The Mustangs are away against Max/Garrison on Thursday, while the Aggies host Beulah on Friday.
Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.