Offensive explosions help Velva take two victories against Harvey
VELVA — In just one inning, the first game of Friday evening’s doubleheader between Velva and Harvey turned upside down.
The momentum shifted in a bottom of a 10-run fifth inning for Velva. Harvey held an early 3-1 lead, but the 39ers removed all doubt in the fifth frame.
“It’s nice to know that we don’t panic when we get behind,” Velva head coach Brent Engebretson said. “We haven’t all year. We’ve been behind enough times and rallied in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.”
After taking the 11-3 victory, the 39ers earned an 11-1 win in Game 2.
During the first game, Harvey gained some traction in the top of the fifth. Tyson Tipton and Hunter Schuh brought home the only runs, but Schuh’s two-run single gave the third-base dugout a jolt of excitement.
The 39ers battled back with a flurry of hits and alert plays on the bases. Gunnar Mogen started the hit parade with a sharp RBI knock into the outfield.
Mogen came home after a ball bounced to the backstop. After Jersey Selzler lifted a bloop single into left field, the 39ers claimed a 4-3 advantage.
“Getting runners on base and scoring off of walks and passed balls was really big for us,” Selzler said. “Just to come in with the energy we did and get the lead back.”
Timely RBI knocks gave the 39ers ample breathing room. Just as Harvey’s dugout found new life in the top of the inning, Velva’s dugout reverberated with energy as the home team batted around the order.
“I was so happy with how we responded coming into the dugout after giving up three (runs),” Engebretson said. “Everybody was positive. Everybody was talking about the next at-bats and having good at-bats. No negativity, no anything else. We knew we had to score runs. Thank God we took advantage of some walks.”
After providing key offensive contributions, Selzler entered the game as a relief pitcher. He thrived in the short-relief role and held Harvey scoreless.
“I haven’t done that in a while,” Selzler said. “It was really big for me to come in, throw strikes and make them hit the ball.”
The comeback gave the 39ers a boost as they started the second game.
“When you’re up, it’s your turn to help us and produce,” Engebretson said. “We’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
Velva’s offense did not relent in the nightcap’s early stages. After putting up a four-spot in the bottom of the first frame, the 39ers used their speed to add three more runs in the second inning.
39ers hurler Colin Dean kept the Snot Otters in check. Dean’s meticulous style and varied pitch mix served him well.
Dean worked in harmony with catcher Kade Beeter and allowed just one run in the contest. After three more runs came home in the bottom of the third, Gage Florence lifted a deep hit into right-center field.
The drive appeared to be in prime position for a sacrifice fly, but the ball dropped in the gap. Florence sprinted to second base as the final run came home.
His walk-off double sealed the three-inning victory over the Snot Otters.
“We’ve just got to be able to put the ball in play and have fewer strikeouts,” Harvey head coach Brandon Storbeck said. “We struck out too many times. Just putting the ball in play in Class B baseball, other teams are going to make some errors. Just being able to do that is going to put us in a better position to win.”
Both teams will play again at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 13. Velva will play a doubleheader in Stanley, while Harvey will host Cando.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.