Jamestown throttles Saints
There wasn’t much more for Jamestown to accomplish in its home debut on Friday.
“You’re always leery about what’s gonna happen the first time you’re on the dirt, but these kids have been around the block a time or two,” JHS coach Kelley Kessler said. “They know what they’re doing. They went out and executed really well.”
Wenzel scattered six hits in the complete-game effort, striking out two for the win. The only free pass he allowed was a hit batsman in the fourth inning.
“It was good to get back on the field — I’ve been waiting for a while,” said Wenzel, whose only loss last season came at the state tournament. “I thought my fastball and changeup were working pretty good. The offense did great and the defense played an awesome game. They saved me a couple of times.”
The offense struck for four runs in the second inning, giving Wenzel plenty of room. A Scott Nelson RBI single and a Nick Fuchs groundout accounted for the first two runs, and Tyler Ukestad drove a Zach Zenker high fastball to the left-field fence, plating Landon Weiser and Nate Soulis.
“That’s why he’s hitting in the 3-spot,” Kessler said of Ukestad. “He got a ball to drive and hit it over (the left fielder’s) head.”
But the real damage came in the fourth inning, when Jamestown struck for seven runs on seven hits. Jamestown batted around the order, sending 13 hitters to the plate with No. 9 batter Nate Soulis taking full advantage. He had two hits in the inning and finished a game-best 3-for-3.
All seven hits in the inning were singles, including a two-run line drive to left field by Nelson. A fielding error led to Joey Gebhardt scoring on the play as well.
But Fuchs and Shaun Hogan also drew a pair of walks in the same inning, leading to a high pitch count and forcing the Saints go to their bullpen. Zenker and reliever Noah Kopp threw a combined 45 pitches in the fourth inning.
Kessler said the Blue Jays stayed selective, which led to a strong offensive showing.
“(Our players) understand that for us to be as good as we can be, we have to be on base,” Kessler said. “The more selective we are now, it’s gonna turn out to be a blessing for us.”
St. Mary’s coach Reid Flaagen said he liked the way his team hit the ball.
“We put a lot of good wood on the ball today,” Flaagen said. “We just couldn’t get any extra base hits. We did (get hits), but we kind of spread them out, and (Jamestown) got them in bunches.”
Kessler said the number he’s pleased with the most is the zero in errors column.
“The biggest thing I like is we were clean defensively,” he said. “Brian did a great job on the mound, too. I’m very happy with his start.”
St. Mary’s Tom Barry outlasted Jamestown’s Peyton Walker in a pitcher’s duel that the Saints won 1-0 in the nonconference nightcap.
Barry held the Blue Jays to two hits, lasting 4 2/3 innings. He issued a walk and hit two batters to load the bases in the bottom of the fifth with one out. However, reliever Alex Johnson induced a game-ending double play to secure a split.
Ukestad and Hogan had hits for Jamestown, which visits Minot today.
Bismarck St. Mary’s 0 (5 innings)
St. Mary’s 000 00 — 0 6 3
Jamestown 040 7x — 11 12 0
Zach Zenker, Noah Kopp (4) and Tyler Famias. Brian Wenzel and Joey Gebhardt. W—Wenzel (1-0). L—Zenker (0-1).
Highlights: StM, Ben Aberle 2-2, Dillon Reiner 1-3, double. J, Nate Soulis 3-3, 2 runs, RBI, Scott Nelson 2-3, 3 RBIs, Landon Weiser 2-4, 2 runs, Joey Gebhardt 2-3, 2 runs, Brian Wenzel 1-3, run, RBI, 5 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 0 walks, HB, 2 Ks.
Bismarck St. Mary’s 1, Jamestown 0
St. Mary’s 001 00 — 1 5 1
Jamestown 000 00 — 0 2 0
Tom Barry, Alex Johnson (5) and Dillon Reiner. Peyton Walker and Joey Gebhardt. W—Barry. L—Walker.
Highlights: StM, Barry 4.1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, Logan Pieterick 2-3, run, Dillon Reiner 2-3. J, Walker 5 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 walks, 3 Ks, Tyler Ukestad 1-2, double, HBP, Shaun Hogan 1-2, walk.
Records: St. Mary’s 0-1 West Region, 2-2 overall. Jamestown 1-0, 1-1.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or firstname.lastname@example.org