Jamestown's Tommy Falk had seen everything Jaden Mitzel had to offer by the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday night at Jack Brown Stadium.
The Bismarck Capitals' ace -- Mitzel -- had at one point retired 18 consecutive Eagles in state-qualifying play of the Senior Babe Ruth Class A West Region baseball tournament. Falk was 0-for-3 with two swinging strikeouts against the lefty who's headed to play college baseball and basketball at Bismarck State College.
But with runners on the corners and two outs in extra frames of a 1-1 game, Falk was first-pitch swinging. The future Minnesota State University Moorhead quarterback lined Mitzel's 104th pitch up the middle and into centerfield scoring Jeremy Williams from third base, and Jamestown is headed to next week's Class A state tournament in Valley City with a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Capitals.
"I seen enough of him at that point, I kinda felt like I was on him," said Falk, shortly after being mobbed by the Eagles' bench behind first base in right field. "It took me a few too many at-bats ... but, obviously, that one's the one that paid off."
Falk's heroics could not have happened without teammate Jakob Schempp. Jamestown's starting pitcher, Schempp turned in a seven-strikeout, six-inning performance that including wiggling out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth. After walking home the tying run, Schempp turned around and retired Bismarck's Andrew Fischer, Kade Trottier and Reece Trottier in order to preserve the 1-1 game.
But that wasn't all.
After giving way to Mason Lunzman on the mound in the seventh, Schempp was moved to right field where he gunned down Mitzel trying to advance to third base on a Jack Trottier single in the eighth. Had Mitzel slid in safely under the tag from Jamestown third baseman Chris Erickson, the Caps would've had runners at the corners with one out.
Schempp's laser to Erickson might've been his best pitch of the night. The heave from right reached Erickson in the air.
"He's something special, isn't he? I love that kid," said Jamestown Eagles coach Sam Jospeh of Schempp. "He's such a bulldog. There's nothing that fazes him. He comes out and he performs day in, day out.
"I didn't really want t put him out there (in right) because he just threw 100-plus pitches, but he just showed me, 'Coach, I'm good. My arm is fine.'"
Jamestown was able to scratch out a first-inning run against Mitzel and the Capitals. Williams led off the game with a single and later scored on a Max Anderson triple.
But Jamestown wouldn't put a runner on base again until the seventh when Mitzel walked Erickson with two outs, ending a streak of 18 straight Eagles retired. Mitzel, a 2020 Mr. Basketball finalist and a former all-state baseball player for Shiloh Christian High School, allowed just five hits and struck out seven.
"He went out and competed like a bulldog tonight," Capitals coach Aric Lee said of Mitzel. "We just came up on the short end. They made a play, we didn't and you just gotta move on."
Mitzel recorded two outs in the eighth before Williams reached first on a fielder's choice at the top of the order. Jamestown's Connor Hoyt followed with a single, setting the table for Falk.
"I'm proud of the guys for just staying with it, learning from each at-bat and that's what happened," Joseph said. "Tommy came up there 0-for-3 and he knew that he needed to change his approach and he did. He kept it nice, short and simple -- not try to do too much -- and that was it.
"J-will set the table for us, so that's always a plus."
Lunzman struck out three and allowed just one hit over the game's final two innings to record the victory.
The Caps play Mandan at noon on Thursday with the state tournament, and their regional tournament, hanging in the balance.
"Just gotta flush this one, move on to tomorrow, because it's going to be a battle tomorrow as well," Lee said.
The Senior Babe Ruth Class A state tournament is scheduled to begin Aug. 4 in Valley City. But the Eagles will first be trying to lock up this week's region championship.
Jamestown will play the Bismarck Reps at 7 p.m. tomorrow in a game that will advance the winner to Friday's 7:30 p.m. championship game.
"We got that out of the way," Falk said of qualifying for state. "Now it's time to go do more damage in this tournament, especially at home."
Jamestown Eagles 2, Bismarck Capitals 1 (8 inn.)
B 000 001 00 -- 1 5 0
J 100 000 01 -- 2 5 3
Jaden Mitzel and Shea Huntington. Jakob Schempp, Mason Lunzman (7) and Tommy Falk. W--Lunzman. L--Mitzel. LOB: Bismarck 9, Jamestown 3.
Highlights: B, Mitzel 7 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, 106 pitches; Jack Trottier 2-3, BB, RBI; Keegan Glatt 1-4, 2B, R. J, Schempp 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, 103 pitches; Lunzman 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 30 pitches; Falk 1-4, RBI; Jeremy Williams 1-4, 2 R; Max Anderson 1-3, 3B, RBI.
(Seeding and region records in parenthesis)
G1: (1) Bismarck Reps 10, (8) Mandan 0, (5 inn.).
G2: (4) Minot 10, (5) Bismarck Senators 8.
G3: (3) Bis. Caps 11, (6) Dickinson 1.
G4: (2) Jamestown 11, (7) Williston (3-13) 0.
G5: Mandan 13, Bismarck Senators 7.
G6: Dickinson 4, Williston 3.
G7: Bismarck Reps 11, Minot 6 (state qualifier).
G8: Jamestown 2, Bismarck Caps 1 (8 inn.) (state qualifier)
G9: Mandan vs. Bismarck Caps (state qualifier), noon.
G10: Dickinson vs. Minot (state qualifier), 25 mins. after G9.
G11: Winner G9 vs. Winner G10, 5 p.m.
G12: Bismarck Reps vs. Jamestown, 25 mins. after G11.
G13: Winner G11 vs. Loser G12, 5 p.m.
G14: Winner G13 vs. Winner G12 (Championship), 7:30 p.m.
G15: Winner G14 vs. Loser G14, (Championship) 1 p.m.