Posted 5/18/11 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City High School’s baseball team suffered its first loss of the season last Friday as the Wolves split with the Trinity Christian Crusaders. The Crusaders took the first game, 7-6, with the Wolves coming back to win the second game, 4-0.
This week, the Wolves will begin Regional Tournament play on Friday, and with the loss to Trinity Christian, the Wolves are tied for first place with the Crusaders. Trinity Christian is scheduled to play Kenmare on Tuesday, and if they win that game, the No. 1 seed in the upcoming tournament will be determined by a coin flip.
“The tournament is a double elimination tournament so it doesn’t really matter where you are seeded,” states Justin Johnsrud, Wolves’ head coach. “What we’ve done in the regular season means nothing when the tournament starts. We need to play our style of baseball, be smart with the baseball and limit the number of outs given to our opponents.”
Trinity Christian 7, Watford City 6
“This was a very different game from our first meeting against Trinity Christian,” stated Johnsrud. “In our first meeting, the game was well played and clean. Friday’s game was not that way.”
Watford City got on the scoreboard first when Paul Martin scored on a Shawn Fulwider two-out single in the second inning. But the Crusaders would score two runs in the top of the third inning.
The Wolves would take the lead again in the top of the fourth on a Nate Egeberg single to lead off the inning with Chris Larsen reaching on an error. Egeberg scored on a Paul Martin single and then Fulwider walked to load the bases. Clay Billing was hit by a pitch to force the go-ahead run across. With one out and the bases loaded, Karson Knudtson attempted a suicide squeeze. The bunt was sent into the air and caught by the Crusaders’ third baseman, who then touched the bag for the double play to end the inning.
The Crusaders then scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead.
“We added two runs in the fifth inning and one run in the sixth inning to hold a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh,” stated Johnsrud. “But we just couldn’t hold on.”
Watford City pitching gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases for the Crusaders. The next batter was hit by a pitch to force one run across, and then with one out and the bases loaded, Jeff Beckman delivered the game-winning double over the head of Watford City’s center fielder for the win.
Douglas Rolfson started the game on the mound for the Wolves and struck out eight batters in five innings of work. Trey Jacobson took the loss for the Wolves as he struck out two batters in the final two innings.
At the plate, Nick Liebel was two for three and Paul Martin was two for four.
“This was was not the game I expected,” stated Johnsrud. “We had fielding errors that allowed extra outs that proved costly.”
Watford City 4, Trinity Christian 0
After suffering their first loss of the season, Watford City rebounded in the second game against Trinity Christian defeating the Crusaders, 4-0.
“We played much better the second game,” stated Johnsrud. “We played more like what we are used to with solid pitching and defense. It was good to see us bounce back from our first loss and play well in the second game.”
Paul Martin picked up the win on the mound for the Wolves striking out five batters in five innings of work.
The Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead and then capped off their scoring with a run in the second inning.
At the plate, Liebel was two for three with two runs scored while Doug Rolfson was one for one with one run scored.