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Comeback Falls Short; Ethan Mueller Honored

The Sanford Health Home Run for Life Kid Ethan Mueller was honored in front of a sellout crowd.

BISMARCK, ND – On a special night where Ethan Mueller was honored in front of a sold out crowd as the Sanford Health Home Run for Life Kid, the Larks came up just short of a heroic comeback.

Upon returning from their longest road trip of the year, the Bismarck Larks were defeated by a final score of 6-5 by the Duluth Huskies.

A 45 minute rain delay didn’t bother either starting pitcher as both of them gave their team a chance to win this ballgame. It was Ryan Byrd for the Larks (9-10) and Piero Amador for the Huskies (10-8).

Byrd completed six innings using six strikeouts and a pair of early double plays to limit the Huskies offense to just two runs.

Amador inched out Byrd by throwing six and two-thirds innings allowing only five hits while walking not one Larks batter.

The two runs the Huskies earned off of Byrd came from an RBI sacrifice fly by Sam Baier and a wild pitch that bounced away from Quinn Irey that scored Matt Frazier.

The lone run the Larks scratched off of Amador came from the bat of newcomer Austin Paschke (Faulkner University) when he drilled a double into the right center field gap that scored other newcomer Ryan Anderson (UC Davis).

You could say the Larks had a little extra bit of motivation to get back in the game because the RBI double from Paschke came in the bottom of the fourth right after Ethan Mueller, the Sanford Health Home Run for Life Kid, got his most deserved moment in the spotlight.

After the completion of three innings the Larks decided to drop all the on-field promotions, the in-between inning entertainment, and focus on something much bigger than life.

Ethan’s story of battling a lifelong illness was told over the speakers throughout the entire ballpark. The sold out crowd rose to their feet sending out a roar that was just as, if not more  loud than any exciting play in a baseball game.

The roar that the crowd gave Ethan would end up foreshadowing the latter innings of the first ever meeting between the Huskies and the Larks.

The Huskies added to their lead in the top of the seventh inning off Larks reliever Parker Harm thanks to an RBI sac fly by Frazier and an error by the Larks defense.

Not content with a 4-1 lead, Duluth would add two more runs off Larks reliever Connor Hillburn via another sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Baier.

However, the Larks offense came roaring back in the bottom half of the eighth inning to give the Larks faithful something to cheer about.

Cooper Coldiron’s (University of Houston) run scoring hit and Scooter Bynum’s two RBI single were apart of a stretch where seven consecutive batters reached base safely and four runs came across to score. The first two Huskies relievers in Greg Brown and Andrew O’Dwyer failed to record an out.

Unfortunately for the Larks, the third pitcher of the inning completed one of the most renown accomplishments a relief pitcher can accomplish.

Kevin Folman inherited a bases loaded situation to then strike out three consecutive Larks hitters and leave the game-tying run 90 feet away.

Folman returned for the bottom of the ninth inning where he worked around a two-out walk to Anderson to strike out Cullen Smith to end the ballgame.

The Larks came up just short flaunting their trademark  “never say die” mentality en route to their fifth one-run loss of the 2017 campaign.

The first day game of the Larks inaugural season happens tomorrow with the first pitch set for 3:05pm.

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The Bismarck Larks are apart of the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 170 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play