Coming off a perfect showing in their first action of the Justin Demary Memorial Tournament, the Minot Vistas took the field on Sunday with their eyes set on a bid to the championship round.
Leading into Sunday, the Vistas posted two wins, where they put up double digit runs in both games. In game one, they beat Glendive 10-2 and in the following game, they topped Brainerd 10-9 in dramatic fashion.
At one point in their match-up with Brainerd, the Vistas saw themselves jump out to a seven-run lead at 9-2. Brainerd, however, wasn’t going down without a fight and rallied together to tie the game in the seventh inning at 9-9. In the bottom half of the frame, the Vistas secured the win when Morgan Nygaard walked with the bases loaded.
With championship appearance hopes on the line, the Vistas faced off against the Mandan Chiefs. In similar fashion to the Vistas previous game, this one featured a back-and-forth battle with both teams countering each other’s attack.
Unfortunately for the Vistas, their run in the Justin Demary Memorial Tournament would come to an end on Sunday, as the Mandan Chiefs pulled off one final push in the seventh inning, surging themselves to a 9-7 victory and an appearance in the championship.
It didn’t take long for this game to show signs of what would be a back-and-forth affair for both teams. The Chiefs struck first in the top of the first inning, utilizing a two-run single and a one-run single, all with two outs to grab a 3-0 lead.
The Vistas, however, were ready to show that the early hole wouldn’t discourage them as they fought back in the bottom half of the frame. Kellan Burke drew a one out walk and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Jonas Bubach. On the same play, Bubach came around to score on an error, making it a one-run game at 3-2.
Momentum would continue to swing the Vistas way and this time it came in the form of a thunderous blast. Tyler Collins sent a single up the middle and was driven home courtesy of a two-run home run from Tyson Ruzicka that cleared the fence in left field. The blast by Ruzicka gave the Vistas their first lead of the day at 4-3.
In what seemed more like a boxing match at Corbett Field, with both teams going jab for jab, the Chiefs would tie the game in the top of the third inning on a solo home run. They kept the jabs going, adding to their lead one inning later with an RBI single after multiple errors put a runner in scoring position, making it a 5-4 Chiefs lead in the fourth inning.
Over the course of the third inning through the fifth inning, the Vistas bats went silent. During that cold stretch, Talon Hebert, who started on the mound gave the Vistas a gutsy performance. Even though they fell to an early lead, Hebert kept the damage minimal and made the Vistas feel like they were never out of it.
The Vistas scoring drought would come to an end in the bottom of the sixth inning when Griffin Baker drove into two runs on a double, giving the Vistas the lead again at 6-5. Baker would come around to score on a wild pitch, extending the lead to 7-5.
Heading into the final inning, all the momentum was back on the Vistas side as they looked to close out the game and move on to the championship. The Chiefs, however, had different plans. A single and two errors brought to the game within one-run.
An RBI single tied things up at 7-7 with only one out in the frame. The Chiefs would then climb to a 9-7 lead as two more runs scored on another single and an error. The 9-7 lead proved to be too much for the Vistas to overcome, as they went down consecutively in the bottom of the frame to make it the final score.
The loss marks the end of the tournament for the Vistas, where they finished with a 2-1 record. The team will now hit the road this week, as they kick things off with a match-up in Jamestown on Tuesday, June 28.