BISMARCK — The Bismarck Governors are one of two unbeatens remaining in the state 2A Senior Babe Ruth baseball tournament, but their two wins have come at a cost.
When the Governors defeated West Fargo 6-2 in Wednesday night's winners' bracket game, they used pitching ace Cade Feeney in relief for the second time.
Thus, under Babe Ruth baseball pitching rules, Feeney won't be able to pitch when the Govs face Fargo Post 2 in Thursday's battle of unbeatens.
"You can only pitch two days in a row, so Feeney won't be out there. He could pitch on Friday," Governors coach Mike Skytland said.
Skytland said Feeney's inability to start against defending state 2A champion Post 2 creates a quandary of sorts.
"We haven't decided. It's one game at a time," he said. "We really haven't talked about it."
All that's known is Isaac Pegors and Skyler Riedinger, who started Bismarck's first two games, are unlikely candidates and Feeney is out of the picture.
The second-seeded Governors face Post 2 at 5 p.m. Thursday.
That game will be preceded by two loser-out contests. Minot meets Grand Forks at 11 a.m. Thursday and West Fargo faces Fargo Post 400 at 2 p.m.
Post 2 was Wednesday's other winners' bracket victor, downing Grand Forks 11-0. In losers' bracket action, Post 400 eliminated Williston 3-2 and Minot defeated Dickinson 4-1.
Although the Governors defeated West Fargo by four runs, the game was tightly contested until the Patriots suffered defensive meltdowns in the final two innings.
Bismarck right-hander Skyler Riedinger and West Fargo lefty Casey Clementson were locked in a 1-1 duel after five innings.
In the top of the sixth, singles by Nick Hinsz, Cru Walker and Isaac Pegors, plus a critical throwing error by Clementson on a sacrifice bunt play, cost the Patriots two unearned runs. Feeney had the only RBI in the inning, driving home Hinsz on a groundout.
West Fargo responded with a run in the bottom of the sixth on Drew Clouse's RBI single, but the wheels came off completely for West Fargo in the top of the seventh.
Three infield errors coupled with two walks resulted in three more tainted Bismarck runs.
Riedinger worked 6 2/3 innings, striking out six, surrendering seven hits and walking one.
Feeney moved from shortstop to the mound with two out in the sixth with two Patriots on, a run in and the Govs leading 3-1. He struck out Nolan Dodds on three pitches to close out the sixth. He worked the seventh, using 11 pitches to retire West Fargo 1-2-3.
On Tuesday night, Feeney threw 17 pitches in an inning of scoreless relief in a 2-1 eight-inning victory over Minot. He struck out the side in the eighth inning.
Skytland said he liked the way the Governors responded against West Fargo to grind out another tough victory.
"We hung in there for seven innings," he said. "Both nights we've needed to do that. West Fargo is a good team. We had a great effort from Skyler and good defense behind him."
Ryan Reynolds and Quade Peters rapped two hits apiece to lead the West Fargo attack. Hinsz tripled and singled and scored a run for the Governors. Walker also had two hits.
Bismarck 6, West Fargo 2
Bismarck — 1 0 0 0 0 2 3 — 6 7 0
West Fargo — 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 — 2 7 4
Skyler Riedinger, Cade Feeney (6) and Cru Walker; Casey Clemenson, Abe Hestdalen (6), Alex Urlaub (7) and Dustin Mertz. W — Riedinger, 3-1. L — Clemenson, 2-1. Save — Feeney. HR — None.
Highlights: B — Nick Hinsz 2-for-4, triple, 2 R; Walker 2-for-4; Riedinger 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO; Feeney 1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO. WF — Quade Peters 2-for-4, 1 RBI; Ryan Reynolds 2-for-3; Drew Clouse 1-for-2, 1 RBI.
Records: Bismarck 23-10 overall; West Fargo 40-14.