Minot Vistas upset bid spoiled by Feeney, Governors in extras
BISMARCK — The moment wasn’t too big for 15-year-old Eli Nissen, nor was it for North Dakota State baseball commit Cade Feeney.
The youngster ace Nissen gave the No. 7-seeded Minot Vistas a golden chance to upset the No. 2-seeded Bismarck Governors in the first round of the Class AA State Tournament. But the tournament hosts survived Tuesday evening with some late-inning dramatics, including a walk-off single by Feeney, to knock off the Vistas 2-1 in eight innings.
Minot (13-23), looking for its first win against Bismarck this season, scored first on an RBI single by Dylan Vigested in the opening frame.
That’s how the score remained until the seventh inning, despite both teams leaving runners in scoring position. Minot stranded a runner on third base in both the sixth and seventh inning.
Nissen stayed on the mound for the seventh, three outs away from a memorable victory. However, trouble ensued.
Connor Weikum reached on an error and Cru Walker smacked a single. The first out of the inning was recorded on a sacrifice bunt, which failed to score the runner on third base but moved Walker to second base.
The next batter, Nic Devine, sent a fly ball to right fielder Talon Hebert. The throw back into the infield was cut off, allowing Weikum to score the tying run while Walker was tagged out trying to advance to third base.
Extra innings needed.
The Vistas put pressure on the Governors with back-to-back walks to Hunter Ruzicka and Braedon McCarty to start the top of the eighth inning. Feeney then got the nod to replace Nick Hinsz on the mound.
Shortly after, Ruzicka got caught in a rundown between second and third base and somehow slipped away to be safe at third. McCarty moved up to second base on the frantic run down.
With no outs and no room for error, Feeney went to work. His low 90s fastball terrorized the strike zone. Morgan Nygaard and Hebert both struck out swinging before Chase Burke drew a full-count walk to load the bases. Kersey Harris then struck out on three pitches to end the inning.
Nissen ended his outing by allowing a single to kick off the bottom half. He got a standing ovation from the road crowd at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark. Nissen pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits.
Calvin Watkins replaced him. Former Bismarck pitcher Hinsz reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second and got to third on a balk.
After Watkins punched out Connor Hanson for the second out of the inning, Feeney ended the game with a clutch RBI single. His only hit of the game to go with his one-inning pitching victory.
Four Vistas finished 1-for-3 at the plate: Burke, Vigested, Nygaard and Jack Plemel. Defensively, Minot only had one error to Bismarck’s four.
The Class AA State Tournament continues today in Bismarck. Minot drops into a loser-out contest against No. 6 Dickinson at 1 p.m. this afternoon.
no-hit in Class A state opener
VALLEY CITY — The Minot Metros return to the Class A State Tournament for the first time since 2017 was a sour one.
The East Region No. 1-seeded West Fargo Vets combined for a three-pitcher no-hitter in a 9-0 first-round win over the West Region No. 4 Metros at the Charlie Brown Field in Valley City.
Pitchers Cullen Pellett, Matt Heupel and Mason Hoff combined to keep the Metros off the scoreboard and out of the hit column. Starter Pellett went 4 2/3 innings followed by Heupel for two innings and then Hoff got the final out.
West Fargo scored nine runs on nine hits. The Metros also committed two errors in the contest.
Minot aims to keep its season alive in a Class A State Tournament loser-out contest against the West Region No. 2-seeded Bismarck Reps at 10 a.m. this morning in Valley City.
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