Hail to the Chiefs: Another big inning sends Mandan to win over Post 2
GRAND FORKS - In the Mandan dugout, they call it "Chiefs inning" - the big outburst that can blow open a close game. "In almost every game, we seem to have one," Mandan catcher Dwight Mack said. "It's sometimes early; it's sometimes late. But it ...
GRAND FORKS - In the Mandan dugout, they call it "Chiefs inning" - the big outburst that can blow open a close game.
"In almost every game, we seem to have one," Mandan catcher Dwight Mack said. "It's sometimes early; it's sometimes late. But it always seems to happen.
"Having it early would have been better. But it definitely was worth the wait."
Mandan's wait Thursday was until the eighth inning, when the Chiefs erupted for seven runs en route to a 7-1 win against Fargo in a winner's bracket third-round game at the North Dakota Class A American Legion state baseball tournament.
Reid Jungling started the outburst by drawing a one-out walk from Nick Salentine, after which Aaron Janz doubled to deep left-center field. Mack then put the Chiefs ahead to stay, going the opposite way to line a single to left field, driving in two runs.
Mandan wound up sending 11 batters to the plate in the inning, with Brent Stoltz, Trevor Huck and Tanner Schaf each singling home a run.
"It looked pretty bleak," Mandan coach Ryne Jungling said. "But I felt if we could get a little momentum, we'd be OK. We seem to be a team that builds on things, and that's what happened.
"Dwight's hit was huge. He hit it hard, and Janz got a great read on the ball to score from second."
The outburst ended a string of 16 straight shutout innings for Fargo pitching, a stretch in which opponents had totaled only seven hits. But Fargo coach Jeff Fiechtner said the walk was the key to the eighth inning.
"I never felt comfortable in the game," Fiechtner said. "Nick threw as good a game as he can throw. But (our pitchers) were behind in the count all day. That one-out walk (to Jungling) - if we don't do that, if we get an out instead, then I think we're OK."
As for the 16 straight shutout innings from a staff that entered the tournament with a 6.91 team earned run average, "I wouldn't have expected that, but we do have that ability," Fiechtner said. "It's just been a matter of getting it done. Our pitching has been the most inconsistent part of our game."
Fargo had taken a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Brady Horner opened the inning with a single, advanced to third on a wild pitch and a single and scored on a Matt Fiechtner ground out. But that was all the scoring allowed by Mandan right-hander Jay Flaa, who scattered 10 hits while striking out 10 and walking one.
"I told Jay that was the best game he's ever pitched while giving up 10 hits," Ryne Jungling said. "He gutted it out. He's a strikeout pitcher. He usually gets a lot of them, but he also usually gives up a lot of walks. But he was around the strike zone all night."
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Bismarck 8, Jamestown 3
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DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald