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Century holds Blue Jays at bay in victory

Jamestown’s Joey Gebhardt (right) slides into third base while Century’s Joel Thune fields the ball during their West Region game Thursday at Jack Brown Stadium. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Getting on base was far less of a problem for the Jamestown High School baseball team on Thursday.

Scoring runs, however, still proved difficult.

The Blue Jays stranded nine runners including seven in scoring position, as Century claimed a 6-2 West Region win at Jack Brown Stadium.

“We got a lot of people on base,” said Jamestown coach Kelley Kessler, whose team won the nonconference nightcap 5-1 to close out the regular season for both teams. “With guys on second and third, we need to find a way to produce.”

The improvement has been evident, though, as Jamestown struggled to get runners on base through the first half of the season. And with the West Region tournament starting next week, Kessler thinks his team could be on the verge of something special.

“I was talking to someone earlier and they made a valid point — we’re like a can of pop shaken up right now,” Kessler said. “Somebody needs to puncture that sucker and let us explode. No doubt in my mind, that’s gonna happen. We’re just kind of all on our toes waiting for it to happen.”

Jamestown entered the doubleheader already locked into the No. 6 seed for next week’s West Region tournament in Dickinson. Its opponent, however, is still up in the air. The top five were separated by just two wins going into Thursday. Weather-permitting, it should all be decided by Saturday night.

For the Patriots, the win over the Blue Jays was a seven-inning test, which Century passed.

Despite allowing runners to reach base, starter Logan Krivoruchka and reliever Dalton Feeney buckled down with the latter getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh. Krivoruchka went 5 1/3 innings for the win, allowing one run.

“It’s good to see our kids come through and get clutch outs,” Century co-coach Mike Gustavsson said. “It’s something we’ve been focusing on a lot lately.”

Century scored three runs in the third, taking advantage of three Joey Gebhardt walks. Gebhardt, again, was plagued by one inning, taking the loss. He gave up two earned runs on two hits, walking three and striking out two in four innings.

Jamestown answered with a run-scoring single from Gebhardt that plated Brian Wenzel in the fifth to cut the deficit to two.

But Century freshman Ian McDonald gave his team a five-run lead when he belted an 0-1 pitch over the right-field fence for a three-run home run.

“He came up halfway through the season for the simple fact that he can hit the ball well,” Gustavsson said. “He has a really nice swing.”

A Landon Weiser double brought home Tanner Lunzman in the seventh for the Blue Jays’ second run.

Kessler said he feels a more aggressive approach with runners in scoring position may be the key to more offense.

“Maybe we’re getting to the point where we’re a little too patient,” he said. “We’re letting someone else do it instead of getting after it. ... The leadoff hitter in an inning can be a little more patient. But with runners in scoring position, we’ve got to be aggressive in the strike zone. There’s nothing to wait around for.”

Jamestown exploded for all five runs in the second inning of the second game, taking advantage of two wild pitches and two errors. Connor Neva and Wenzel had hits in the inning, with Lunzman, Gebhardt and Landon Weiser joining them as runs scored.

Both teams used multiple pitchers. Jamestown’s Tanner Lunzman got the win in relief, giving up just a hit and a walk in two innings of work.

Century’s Cyril Nagurski started and took the loss.

Bismarck Century 6, Jamestown 2

Century  003 003 0 — 6 7 2

Jamestown  000 010 1 — 2 6 2

Logan Krivoruchka, Dalton Feeney (6) and Chandler Aarfor. Joey Gebhardt, Shaun Hogan (5) and Hogan, Gebhardt (5). W—Krivoruchka. L—Gebhardt.

HR—BC, Ian McDonald.

Highlights: C, McDonald 1-3, 3 RBIs, run, Krivoruchka 5.1 IP, R, ER, 4 H, 3 walks, 2 Ks. J, Landon Weiser 1-4, double, RBI, Shaun Hogan 1-3, double, Joey Gebhardt 1-2, walk, RBI.

Jamestown 5, Century 1

Century  100 00 — 1 3 2

Jamestown  050 00 — 5 3 1

Cyril Nagurski, Tanner Wolf (3) and Cole Foss. Andrew Hornung, Tanner Lunzman (3), Tyler Ukestad (5) and Brian Wenzel. W—Lunzman. L—Nagurski.

Highlights: C, Andrew Bargmann 1-3, double, run, Dalton Feeney 1-3, double, RBI. J, Landon Weiser 2 HBP, walk, run, Connor Neva 1-1, run, walk, Tanner Lunzman 1-1, walk, run.

Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or