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Vistas sweep Chiefs in doubleheader

Ryan Ladika/MDN Left hander Eli Nissen delivers a pitch for the Minot Vistas at Corbett Field on Thursday.

After the team’s first game of the season was cut short due to inclement weather in the area in Williston, the Minot Vistas returned to Corbett Field Thursday afternoon for their home-opening doubleheader. The Vistas swept the Mandan Chiefs by final scores of 5-3 and 4-3 in their first two games in front of their home crowd.

The Vistas opened their season June 8 against Williston and scored eight runs through their first five innings but the game was in the top of the fifth inning due to weather, giving Minot an 8-1 win.

Eli Nissen took the mound for the Vistas in the opener and displayed the same swing-and-miss prowess he utilized throughout his season with the Magicians. He struck out all three Chiefs he faced in the first inning, and worked around a leadoff double by retiring two more on strikes in the second. Third baseman Dylan Buchanan also made an impressive diving catch on Ben Kleinknecht’s line drive to help get the Vistas back to the dugout.

The Vistas’ offense was firing on all cylinders early on in support of Nissen as well. With two outs, Minot rallied for two runs in the first inning on the strength of a Chase Burke walk and Trent Greek run-scoring triple. Greek later scampered home on a wild pitch, extending Minot’s early lead to 2-0.

Minot would score three more times in the next two frames to continue its ambush of starter Lucas Burgum. Calvin Baker singled to lead off the second and later scored on another wild pitch, and Buchanan hit an RBI single in a two-run third.

Nissen continued cutting through the Chiefs lineup, allowing just three runs in his six-plus innings of work. A sacrifice fly in the third and another run on a wild pitch were all the Chiefs could muster against the Minot lefty until the top of the seventh inning. The southpaw struck out five more hitters before he was lifted after allowing a leadoff single in the final frame.

Landon Halseth entered the game in relief of Nissen and allowed his inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly, but struck out Turner Locken and Blake Arenz to seal Minot’s 5-3 game one victory.

The Chiefs jumped on Minot starter Tyler Buchanan early in game two, scoring a pair of first-inning runs to take a 2-0 lead in the nightcap. The Vistas responded in the home half, tying the game on three consecutive hits and a walk, again with two outs. Greek drew the free pass to set the table for a Dylan Buchanan double and two RBI singles from Baker and Logan Merck.

Baker later swatted another second run-scoring single in the bottom of the third inning to give his club its first lead of the game, but the Chiefs answered back in the top of the sixth with an RBI double to tie the game at three runs apiece.

Minot scratched out its fourth run of the game in the home half of the sixth inning, when Hunter Ruzicka strode to the plate with two runners in scoring position and only one out. The Vistas leadoff hitter clubbed the ball out to left field deep enough for Braedon McCarty to trot home with the go-ahead run.

Talon Hebert slammed the door in the top of the seventh in relief, securing Minot’s 4-3 victory and the sweep of the twin-bill. The Vistas’ next game is scheduled for Friday, June 10.

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