Brody Sorenson is accustomed to slow starts when he's pitching -- and strong finishes.
The right-hander threw four scoreless innings to finish off a 3-2 Grand Forks Royals win against Williston on Wednesday. The visiting Keybirds got their bats going in the second game of the American Legion baseball doubleheader at Kraft Field to win 10-7 and gain a split.
Sorenson gave up a run and two hits in both the second and third innings. But over the final four innings, he pitched hitless ball, allowing only two baserunners in that span.
"I get stronger as I go along,'' Sorenson said. "I usually get in a groove after awhile. It comes a lot easier then.
"They (slow starts) are a little frustrating. But I get more comfortable with each pitch.''
Sorenson finished with a 4-hitter, walking one and striking out six, including the final two batters of the game.
"Brody commanded his second pitch today. He was really accurate,'' Royals coach Nick Chine said. "When he has command of his curveball, when his breaking pitch is in sync like this, he's tough to hit. That's his out pitch. And he had decent velocity.''
The Royals scored single runs in the first and third innings, then scored the game winner in the fifth.
Zach Carolin led off by lining a single just beyond the reach of diving Williston third baseman Camdin Miller. Carolin was sacrificed to second and scored when Coby Tweten doubled deep to center field near the 410-foot sign. The ball was off the glove of diving center fielder Brady Aberle.
"It's a game of inches,'' Chine said. "If that kid (Aberle) has one more stride, he probably makes the catch. He ran a long way and made a great play on the ball.''
Williston never trailed in the second game after scoring five in the first. Jaxon Meyer and Garret Hill each doubled off the left-field fence to drive in a run to highlight the outburst.
The Royals rallied to as close as 8-7 after scoring three in the fifth, with Drew Montgomery doubling home one run and Channing LeNoir singling home another in the inning. But the Royals, out-hit 15-13, couldn't overcome their five errors and 11 runners left on base.
After scoring twice in the first inning and loading the bases with one out, Grand Forks couldn't score again in the inning. The Royals had runners on first and second with one out in the third and seventh, but couldn't score, and left the bases loaded in the sixth.
"We made too many mistakes defensively,'' Chine said. "We had plenty of opportunities. But leaving an army on the bases to go with that many mistakes usually winds up being on the short end on the scoreboard.''
Grand Forks moved to 4-2 with the split. Williston snapped a five-game losing streak in improving to 3-5.