Putting the ball in play was the modus operandi for both sides in Sacred Heart’s 17-10 victory over East Grand Forks on Monday. The two programs combined to rake in 24 hits, which still doesn’t account for the runners that reached base on walks, fielder's choices and errors.
Early, it was the base on balls that catapulted the Eagles' offense. They opened the scoring in the first two innings before recording their first hit, as a litany of walks and passed balls pushed them ahead 3-0. Baserunning became a major theme for the Eagles throughout the intercity matchup.
“You don’t have to be fast to be a good baserunner,” Sacred Heart head coach Paul Bethke said following the win. “Our team is really buying into the idea that you can really win games being aggressive – smartly aggressive. You’re trying to find that line between aggressive and stupid and do some damage that way.”
Before Sacred Heart could catch their breath, the Green Wave put together a seven-run inning in the third to take a 9-3 lead.
Twice in the bottom of the third, East Grand Forks came up to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. And twice, the Green Wave scored two runs. The first came from Collin Peterson with a two-RBI single and the latter came from Max Kallock, whose ground ball up the middle forced a throwing error and sent two more home.
Sacred Heart was able to clean up the defense and escape with a six-run deficit. The next half-inning brought them right back into the game. They made contact and put runners on and from there, the Eagle baserunners put pressure on the Green Wave defense to stop them from advancing. Hard hit singles stretched into extra bases and in the blink of an eye, it was a 9-8 game.
“We had young guys on the mound tonight. We had a freshman that came in and threw 85 pitches,” Green Wave head coach Dustin Frize said postgame. “They did everything that I asked them to do, which is throw strikes, but we weren’t making plays behind them. We don’t have strikeout pitchers, we have guys that throw strikes and we have to make the routine plays behind them. I’ve said that all year long.”
Eagles speedsters Cullen Rohrich and Sam Gapp put balls in play and were keen on capitalizing on the Green Wave defense when the ball was still in play. Rohrich and Gapp, along with Gage Wavra and Nick Brundin, scored three runs apiece.
The Green Wave added an insurance run in the fourth, but the Eagles went on to score nine more runs and take a 17-10 victory after being down by six.
“We just needed to take it one pitch at a time on both sides. We were doing a lot of things to ourselves and weren’t making the routine baseball play. We weren’t putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position and it’s hard to win games like that. From there it was just taking it one at-bat at a time,” said Bethke.
Gapp, Brundin and Caden Reimer each had three hits while Ethan Arntson added two more.
Scared Heart moves to 6-1 on the year while East Grand Forks drops to 1-8.
Sacred Heart 17, EGF 10
S-H 120 545 0 -- 17 10 4
EGF 027 100 0 --10 14 4
WP -- Ethan Arntson; LP -- Drew Carpenter
Highlights -- SH: Sam Gapp 3x4, 5 RBI, Nick Brundin 3x5, 3 RBI, Caden Reimer 3x5, 2 RBI, Ethan Arntson 2x4, 3 RBI, Gage Wavra 1x1, 3 runs; EGF: Carson Belbas 3x4, 2 RBI, Drew Carpenter 2x5, 2 RBI, Finley Lizakowski 2x4,, Collin Peterson 2x3, Tom Gust 1x4