Almost there: Blue Jays fall in tight pair to Mandan

The Jamestown High School baseball team hosted and fell to Mandan Tuesday evening.

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Jamestown's Ty Monson and Benjamin Kleinknecht (2) of Mandan look to the umpire for the call Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at Jack Brown Stadium. Kleinknecht was save and earned a triple on the play. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The Jamestown High School baseball team is progressing a little bit more every time they take the field, it just hasn't been quite enough to clinch the win every time.

"We started out slow, our bats weren't really doing well. But as we've been going on, it's been a lot better," JHS senior pitcher Jacoby Nold said. "I think we are progressing and we're getting there. We're close to breaking the seal we have on ourselves."

The Jays were not close enough Tuesday night.

The Jays dropped the pair to Mandan putting them at 3-11 overall and 2-11 in conference play. The Braves round out the top-four WDA teams at 12-6 and 9-5 in the West Region. The Blue Jays will be on the road Thursday at Aberdeen Central, South Dakota, and will be back at Jack Brown on Friday to take on Williston. Both doubleheaders are slated to begin at 4:30 p.m.

"Overall I told the guys, I thought it was a pretty solid effort in that game," JHS head coach Jack Bowman said. "We pitched well. We had the bases loaded and got a couple of runs, we just aren't consistent."


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Jamestown's Ty Monson and Benjamin Kleinknecht (2) of Mandan look to the umpire for the call Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at Jack Brown Stadium. Kleinknecht was save and earned a triple on the play. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Nold took the mound in game No. 2 for the Jays, striking out 11 and only giving up two walks. The senior allowed eight hits for five runs, four earned over the seven innings. Tuesday marked the first complete game Nold has thrown all season.

"It felt good," Nold said of being on the mound. "I was locating my pitches so I was feeling good. Getting out there and playing for the full seven innings was fun."

Bowman said while he would like to see more first-pitch strikes from the senior, he was happy with Nold's 103-pitch performance. The head coach also commended Mason Lunzman's seven innings thrown in game No. 1. Lunzman gave up 12 hits for four runs but only walked three.

Lunzman also gave the Jays some momentum at the plate.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh and runners on first and second, Lunzman's single to right field finally got the Jays on the board, driving in Gage Orr from third to make it a 4-1 ballgame, which would end up being the final for game No. 1

While the Jays had their chances, especially late in the game, Mandan's bats were too hot to handle the first four innings.


Ben Kleinknecht drove in two runs in the top of the second with a triple that cleared Conner Hoyt's head. The drive to left field made it 3-0 Braves.

The Jays had a chance to take the lead back from the Braves in the bottom of the second. Lunzman stepped to the plate with the bases loaded but the sophomore ended up sending Avery Bogner's fastball to left-center field for out No. 3.

"The other thing that we've been doing is hitting the ball right at people," Bowman said. "We've been doing that all season. It seems like anything hard is right at somebody but it happens."

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Jamestown's Gage Orr goes airborne after forcing out Anthony Johnson of Mandan at second base Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Jack Brown Stadium. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Stetson Kuntz also proved unable to empty the bases for the Braves. With one out and the bases loaded, the junior infielder grounded into a 4-6-3 double-play, keeping it a three-run ball game heading into the bottom of the third.

While the Blue Jays were unable to find gaps, they were able to slow down Mandan's bats in both games.

In the first, Isaac Huettl stepped to the plate, and, on a 2-0 count, the junior drove one to the fence, rounding first and headed for second. Huettl underestimated Brooks Roaldson's arm strength as the sophomore right fielder chucked the ball to Nold for a 9-6 putout.


Mandan came up scoreless in the fifth and the sixth and matched the Jays' one run in the seventh.

In the top of the fourth in game No. 2, The Jays briefly led 2-1. Unfortunately for the Jays, the Braves quickly rebounded with four runs in the fifth.

While the Blue Jays couldn't seem to make up much ground offensively, the defensive pace kept the innings moving at a good clip.

"The defense (has been) a lot sharper and if we put it all together we have a chance to do a lot of good things come tournament time," Nold said.

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Jamestown's Mason Lunzman winds up for a pitch Tuesday, May 11, 2021, against Mandan at Jack Brown Stadium. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Mandan 3, Jamestown 1

MAN 030 000 1 -- 4 11 1


JHS 000 000 1 -- 1 7 3

MAN -- Avery Bogner, Stetson Kuntz (7); JHS -- Mason Lunzman W -- Bogner, L -- Lunzman


JHS -- Lunzman (7 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) 1-4; Gage Orr 2-3; Michael Mahoney 1-3, 2B.

MAN -- Ben Kleinknecht 3-3, 3B, 2 RBI; Isaac Huettl 2-4, 2B; Turner Locken 2-3, Lucas Burgum 2-4, RBI; Stetson Kuntz 1-3, RBI.

Records: Jamestown 3-10, 2-10 WDA; Mandan 11-6, 8-5

Mandan 3, Jamestown 1

MAN 001 040 0 -- 5 8 1


JHS 002 000 1 -- 2 6 2

MAN -- Luke Darras, Brayden Bunnell (5); JHS -- Nold W -- Bunnell, L -- Nold


JHS -- Nold (7 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 11 K ); Gage Orr 1-3, 2B; Conner Hoyt 2-3; Brooks Roaldson 1-4, RBI.

MAN --Avery Bogner 2-4, RBI; Ben Kleinknecht 1-3; Isaac Huettl 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI.

Records: Jamestown 3-11, 2-11 WDA; Mandan 12-6, 9-5

Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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