Metros remain engaged, rally for walk-off win against Watford City

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot Metros batter Jonas Bubach reaches to make contact with a pitch Monday evening against the Watford City Walleye at Corbett Field.

Trailing 9-1 on a gloomy Monday, a random debate arose on the Minot Metros’ bench: Beaver or buffalo?

A relic from Corbett Field’s iconic history was under the microscope. While trying to decipher what animal was jumping over the Corbett Field logo on the hitter’s backdrop, one of the Minot players asked, “Isn’t that a buffalo?”

Jokingly, Metros head coach Fred Nelson and his assistant coach Dalton Cooper attempted to convince everyone that the red buffalo in center field was actually a beaver.

“Yeah, that’s a buffalo, but you can tell all the kids that it’s a beaver,” Nelson said with a laugh. “I actually heard a true story about a Minot State guy. It was his first time out here on the field and he looked up at the buffalo and said, ‘That’s a weird looking beaver.’ So, that’s kind of where that stemmed from. One of our kids was talking about it, so I changed the subject to that.”

Such a simple and playful dispute sparked an improbable rally.

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot Metros' Tyler Harbort walks off the field after laying down a pick-off tag at first base Monday in Minot.

The Metros stormed back Monday for a wild 10-9 victory over the Watford City Walleye in an American Legion Class A baseball game at Corbett Field in Minot.

Jonas Bubach played the hero with an infield walk-off single.

“There is no quit in this team,” Bubach said. “We just keep going.”

The Metros didn’t waste any time scoring after a 25-minute rain delay halted the start of the contest. In their opening at-bats in the bottom of the first, leadoff hitter Caleb Reing roped a triple into the left field corner and eventually scored on a passed ball.

Watford City didn’t take that lightly and punched back with a vengeance in the next half inning by racking up nine runs.

The most disheartening part for the Metros was the team’s inability to get out of the inning. All nine runs were scored while facing two outs.

Liam Shannon, Jackson Dodds and Ty Howe each contributed with two-run singles. There was also an RBI single for Colton Daly, a bases-loaded walk and a double steal that plated a run.

“You stop the bleeding if you get that third out,” Nelson said. “Obviously, you never want to see a team put nine runs up on you. But, it happened. Proud of the guys for the way they battled back.”

Trent Greek replaced Minot starting pitcher Keegan Stenvold in the third inning. The Metros got back on the scoreboard the next inning with four runs.

Calvin Baker brought in two runs with an infield RBI single and an ensuing throwing error. That was followed by an RBI double by Reing, who was later brought in via an RBI groundout.

The resurgence continued in the sixth inning. Minot pulled within two runs, 9-7, with a double steal and an RBI single by Bubach.

With the bench now buzzing entering the seventh inning, Minot completed the comeback.

Back-to-back singles got things started. Tyler Harbort provided an RBI sacrifice fly. Pinch hitter Bailey McCarty knocked in an RBI single. Reing, who needed a home run for cycle, was intentionally walked.

Just like that the bases were loaded in a tie game, 9-9.

After Ethan Pankow grounded out to the pitcher for the second out of the inning, Bubach ran out an infield single to ignite a rowdy game-winning celebration.

“We battled that last inning and got runners on base,” Bubach said. “We just had to chip away. One run at a time.”

The second game of the doubleheader didn’t count toward the regional standings. Watford City won 9-7.

After wrapping up a lengthy home stand that featured four opponents over the last seven days, the Metros hit the road once again. Minot heads to Mandan on Wednesday and then Bismarck to face the Capitals on Thursday.

First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. on both days.

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