Merchants win marathon: Erstad clubs homer in 13th inning to end itBryan Erstad has hit a bunch of home runs at Jack Brown Stadium during his career.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Bryan Erstad has hit a bunch of home runs at Jack Brown Stadium during his career.
But his latest should rank somewhere near the top.
With the Merchants and Fargo Expos locked in a marathon pitchers’ duel, Erstad clubbed a towering drive to right field that just kept going and going and landed short of the James River, but safely over the fence for a 2-1 victory in opening-round play of the Class AAA state amateur tournament at Jack Brown Stadium on Friday night.
So the obvious question: Was he trying to end it?
“Kinda,” he said smiling. “Obviously you’re not supposed to try to do that, but I’d been trying my last few at bats. ... I got it on the barrel and got lucky.”
Pitching had ruled the night before Erstad unloaded.
Sam Hirchert went nine sparkling innings to start for the Merchants. His brother Steve took over in the 10th and fired four scoreless innings to get the win.
Nick Tweiten spun 12 heroic innings for the Expos. The only run he allowed was unearned. He struck out six and surrendered just eight hits.
“That was exactly what I expected,” Erstad said. “Tweiten is really good and we hadn’t seen him all year, so we knew it would be tough.
“The Hircherts did what they pretty much always do. They were awesome. It was just a really well-pitched game.”
Todd McDonald had three hits for the Expos.
Jared Purdy paced the Merchants with a pair of hits in the crisply played two-hour and 40-minute affair.
Considering the quality of the field, winning that first game is critical.
“It’s huge to scratch out a win,” Erstad said. “Coming through the long way would be really tough, so to get this one is big.”
The Merchants play in the winner’s bracket game today at 2:30 p.m., while the Expos get the loser-out game at noon.
Due to the 13-inning opener, Game 2 between the Jamestown Elks and Groton, S.D., did not start until 8:40 p.m.
At press time, the three-time defending Class AAA state champions led Groton 7-0 in the seventh inning. Go to jamestownsun.com for game story.
Jamestown Miller Lite Merchants 2, Fargo Expos 1, 13 Innings
Expos 001 000 000 000 0 — 1 11 3
Merchants 000 100 000 000 1— 2 9 1
Nick Tweiten, Brian Cooksey (13) and Mike Jones. Sam Hirchert, Steve Hirchert (10) and Anthony Fontana. W-Steve Hirchert. L-Cooksey. 2B-Expos, Billy Sholl, Paul Deutsch. HR-Merchants, Bryan Erstad. SB-Jared Purdy.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at email@example.com or (701) 952-8460