Jackson Walters heard what no batter wants to hear in the bottom of the seventh inning with two down and the bases loaded.
Walters and the rest of the Jamestown Post 14 baseball squad kicked off the American Legion season in a non-conference doubleheader against the Fargo Post 400 Stars. The Eagles fell 11-8 and 12-0. The Eagles are slated to be in action again on Friday when they travel to Bismarck to take on the Capitals at Shiloh Field. The two-game series is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.
While it wasn't the Eagles' preferred way to start the season, the couple-run losses were actually a positive for head coach Sam Joseph.
"We had a lot of good things happen tonight," Joseph said. "The guys came out and they swung the bats and that was a big plus. We just have to keep improving on our defense -- right now we are giving away too many free outs. We just have to keep working on that and keep pushing forward."
Joseph is coming off a Class A West Region tournament championship but having lost five key starters, the third-year head coach's dugout is filled with mostly soon-to-be sophomores and juniors, kids who generally speaking have little experience at the Post 14 level.
"I am really, really proud of what they did in that first game but obviously there's a lot of room to improve on -- starting tomorrow," he said.
Thankfully for Joseph and the Eagles, one member of the 2021 roster has four years of Legion ball experience under his belt.
Isaac Mimong, a soon-to-be sophomore at the University of Jamestown, suited up for a final season with Joseph and the Eagles and took his position behind home plate in game one.
The 2020 Jamestown High School grad used his arm more than once in attempts to rack up infield-outs and brought a steadiness to the bats. Mimong was a part of last season's region championship team that won 25 games before their season was brought to an unfortunate end in the Class A State Tournament.
"Isaac is one of those kids who works his butt off," Joseph said. "A lot of kids see that and they feed off of that. He's always one of the first ones here and one of the last to leave and a lot of the boys have been mirroring that so that's pretty cool to see."
Even with the Jimmie baseball player in the mix, the Stars didn't miss a beat against starting Eagles pitcher Kasen Rowell.
The Stars scored three runs off three hits in the opening frame. On defense, Post 400 made short work of the Eagles' first two batters, retiring Mason Lunzman and Walters on a double play to the second baseman, Jaxon Beiswenger.
With two down, Mimong, the Eagles' No. 3 hitter, held steady on a 1-2 count, doubling on a nice poke to centerfield, giving the Eagles some momentum early. Mimong's run scored on the next play, a double by cleanup hitter Jacoby Nold, to make it a 3-1 game headed into the top of the second.
Mimong was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a double.
"It's a little bit of a different experience," Mimong said of returning to the Legion field. "I had to get used to the high school guys all over again. The inexperience is there but I think we'll be able to manage just fine. It's starting to be really fun."
Run-scoring doubles came in good supply for the Eagles with Gage Orr sending one through the gap in centerfield to drive in Ty Monson in the bottom of the second. The Stars' 5-2 lead held until Kobe Senn drove in three runs with a drive to the left-centerfield fence. Senn was caught out advancing to third but a six-run lead is difficult for any team to overcome.
Nold made the task a little easier for the Eagles in the bottom of the fourth.
The recent JHS grad connected on the first pitch for a line-drive double that drove in three Jamestown runners to make it 8-7 Stars. The Eagles did tally 12 hits in the high-scoring affair but unfortunately for the Eagles, the Stars notched 13 hits off Rowell and Carson Orr.
Rowell lasted two and two-thirds innings and allowed six hits and eight runs while recording one strikeout. Orr posted three Ks and allowed three runs off seven hits and did not issue a walk in his four and 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.
"They battled (and) that's what we want," Joseph said. "We're just going to keep improving."
Fargo Post 400 Stars 11, Jamestown Post 14 8
Post 400 -- 323 020 1 -- 11 13 4
Post 14 -- 112 301 0 -- 8 12 3
Post 400: Drew Rerick; Caden Graf (2); Post 14: Kasen Rowell; Carson Orr (3). W -- Rerick; L -- Rowell.
Post 400: Graf (5.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) 4-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Kobe Senn 2-5, 2B, RBI; Tate Gustafson 2-4, RBI.
Post 14: Gage Orr 2-4, 2B, RBI; Mason Lunzmand 2-5; Isaac Mimong 2-2, 2B; Jacoby Nold 2-3, 2B, 4 RBI; Ty Monson 2-4, RBI.
Fargo Post 400 Stars 12, Jamestown Post 14 0
Post 400 -- 014 223 X -- 12 12 3
Post 14 -- 000 000 X -- 0 4 1
Post 400: Jake Jaroszewski, Chayton Senn (4), Jaxon Beiswenger (4), Colten Alme (5); Post 14: Nolan Nenow, Payton Hochhalter (4), Gage Orr (6). W -- Jaroszewski; L -- Nenow.
Post 400: Evan Erickson 3-4; Kobe Senn 2-4; Caden Graf 2-2; Colten Alme 3-4;
Post 14: Payton Hochhalter 1-3; Jackson Walters 1-3; Brooks Roaldson 1-2; Carson Orr 1-3.