Game 2 gem: Wenzel pitches Post 14 to split with Williston
Needing a split of a league doubleheader on Wednesday, Brian Wenzel found a way to cool Williston’s bats.
“We definitely needed that second one,” Wenzel said. “We’re a lot better than when we started. We’re picking it up at the right time.”
Of the 21 outs he recorded, only four were hit to the outfield, yet more evidence of Wenzel’s confidence in his changeup. He did issue four walks and hit one batter, striking out two in the complete-game effort.
“I felt like I was getting ahead right away,” Wenzel said. “I had them in my count from then on. When I made a mistake, my defense was right there.”
Jamestown’s Landon Weiser and Joey Gebhardt combined for five of their team’s six hits. Gebhardt’s double in the third inning plated Tanner Lunzman, who singled to get on. Weiser followed with a run-scoring single.
Connor Neva scored in the fifth off a single from Gebhardt, who crossed the plate thanks to a sacrifice fly from Nate Soulis right after Landon Weiser’s double brought home Ben Walz.
Williston’s Brady Miller entered with a stellar 3-0 record and had allowed just two earned runs in 21 innings this season. However, he suffered his first loss, giving up five earned runs on six hits in six innings of work. He walked one and struck out six.
The opening game proved gut-wrenching for Post 14.
With Jamestown clinging to a 6-5 lead and an out away from victory in the top of the seventh, Williston’s Thad Thompson appeared to end the game with a ground out to shortstop. The slow roller was cleanly fielded by Lunzman, but the throw was wide, allowing the game-tying run to score.
Still, Jamestown coach Shane Schoeneberg said he sees 13 runners left on in eight innings as a bigger reason. The Blue Jays left the bases loaded in the third, getting only one run. The bases were left full in the fifth as well.
“We need to do a better job of not making it so stressful on our guys to always have to win a close ball game,” Schoeneberg said. “We have to find a way to extend a lead so it doesn’t come down to making one play at the end of the game.”
Post 14 rallied from a 5-2 deficit with four runs in the fifth, thanks to control problems from Williston starter Lane Huck, who walked three and plunked two in the inning. Cody Horn had the only hit, finishing 3-for-5.
But Williston (4-8 state, 18-17 overall) took advantage of a pinch-hit double from Caleb Owens that scored two runs in the eighth. Weiser doubled to lead off the bottom half and scored on a double play, but that was it for Post 14. Williston’s Trenten Hove got the win in relief.
“We just came up with one more hit than they did,” said Williston coach Greg McNary, whose team just finished the Fargo trip in which it was swept by Fargo Post 400, but split with Fargo Post 2. “It’s a tough stretch for us with six league games in three days.”
Gebhardt suffered the loss, surrendering eight earned runs on 11 hits in eight innings of work. He struggled early, finishing with eight walks and hitting a batter.
Jamestown (2-8, 8-12) is back in action Friday, when it hosts Bismarck.
NOTES: First baseman Tyler Ukestad missed Wednesday’s doubleheader, as he’s preparing for the Shrine Bowl with his 11-man West teammates. He’ll also miss the Bismarck doubleheader. ... Starting shortstop Nick Fuchs is still day-to-day after suffering a concussion the third week of June.
Williston 10, Jamestown 7
Williston 032 000 14 — 10 11 1
Jamestown 101 040 01 — 7 11 2
Lane Huck, Trenton Hove (5) and Ty Berg. Joey Gebhardt and Brian Wenzel. W—Hove. L—Gebhardt.
Highlights: W, Joren Falcon 2-4, double, Hove 2-5, 2 RBIs. J, Landon Weiser 2-4, HBP, 3 R, Nate Soulis 2-3, 3, 2 walks, RBI, Cody Horn 3-5, R.
Jamestown 5, Williston 0
Williston 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Jamestown 002 030 x — 5 6 2
Brady Miller and Lane Huck. Brian Wenzel and Joey Gebhardt. W—Wenzel. L—Miller.
Highlights: W, Miller 1-3. J, Landon Weiser 3-3, double, 2 RBIs, Gebhardt 2-3, double, 2 RBIs.
Records: Williston 4-8 state, 18-17 overall. Jamestown 8-12, 2-8.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or firstname.lastname@example.org