Lisbon lighting up summer baseballLisbon High School is traditionally strong in every sport, but they don’t have a baseball team. Turns out, it does not matter. They do plenty of damage in the summer.
Lisbon High School is traditionally strong in every sport, but they don’t have a baseball team.
Turns out, it does not matter. They do plenty of damage in the summer.
Lisbon (23-11) blitzed the field at the Section 2 American Legion Tournament last week, and looks to continue their winning ways today when they open the Class B state tournament in Bottineau against Wahpeton.
Coach Brad Bitter says their kids are used to winning, and they like it.
“The kids here in Lisbon have had a lot of success across a lot of different sports,” Bittner said on Monday as heavy equipment removed the dike that successfully defended their field from the Sheyenne River. “It rubs off and kind of snowballs in a good way.”
That is particularly true this summer where they’ve gotten hot as the temperatures soared. They were 10-9 in June, but are 13-2 this month, including a 4-0 mark at the section tournament in Ellendale last week where they outscored their opponents, 33-12.
“Our section has very good teams, so to play like we did was very encouraging,” Bittner said.
They’re especially deep on the mound, which is critical for success in a lengthy tournament, which state is.
Derek Jones (4-1, 2.70 ERA) is the staff ace and has been clocked in the mid-80s, Bittner said. In fact, he’s one of three pitchers to top 80 miles per hour this season. Tyler Mittleider (3-1) and Derek Lyons (4-2, 3.10 ERA) are the other two. They also have Nathan Qual, who is 6-1 with a 2.80 ERA.
“We have a very deep pitching staff. That’s been a real strength for us,” Bittner said. “We only used four pitchers in the section tournament. We have two or three guys who are pretty good that didn’t even get to pitch.”
They can swing it, too.
Eight of their nine starters are hitting .350 or better. Trent Toso’s .460 mark leads the way. Lyons (.407) and Reed Huether (.400) are also over .400.
Huether is one of their many multi-sport stars. He was the state wrestling champion at 189 pounds in March. Jace Berg (third at 112), Hunter Mairs (sixth at 140) and Kasey Groettum (seventh at 215) also placed at the state meet.
In that vein, Qual was fifth at the state golf meet in June; the Broncos finished second as a team at the state track meet and they had good football and basketball seasons, too.
And on top of that, they’re young. The entire bunch will be back next year.
But first things first.
They face Wahpeton today at 10 a.m., and Bittner says that’s where their focus is.
“It’s like everybody else. We want to focus on one pitch at a time, one inning at a time and one game at a time,” Bittner said. “Wahpeton has a real nice ballclub. It’s the state tournament. No matter who we play, the other team is going to be pretty good.”
Running the table in Section 2 speaks volumes. They beat second-seeded Edgeley twice, and handed 5-time defending section champion LaMoure its first loss of the tournament as well.
They’re doing everything pretty well, but Bittner highlighted the glove work.
“A big thing for us, especially this month, is that we’ve caught the baseball,” he said. “If you catch the baseball behind your pitcher, you always got a chance.
“Hopefully we continue to play well, and if we catch a few breaks, anything is possible.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org