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Larks Grind Out Win In Duluth

Newt Johnson and Scooter Bynum each record three hits and a pair of RBI in the seemingly improbable win

DULUTH, MN – It’s not everyday that you have a competition prior to the game to see who will be your starting catcher. Because of the injury bug that has plagued the Larks recently, a competition was not only necessary but also essential.

The winner of that competition? It was the normal, everyday starting shortstop in Cooper Coldiron.

The Bismarck Larks defeated the Duluth Huskies by a final score of 7-6 to record their first victory at Wade Municipal Stadium in three attempts.

Having been swept in their previous visit to Duluth (4-3) and having to deal with an ample amount of injuries, the odds were not in the Larks favor.

Once again, don’t tell them the stinking odds.

It all started when the Larks (3-4) jumped out of the gates early. After two quick outs in the top of the first inning, the next three batters reached topped off by an RBI double from Scooter Bynum. The two-out run-scoring hit scored Newt Johnson to make it a 1-0 ballgame.

After Larks starter Nick Boyles evaded some early inning jams, Ryan Anderson showcased why he is one of, if not the hottest hitter in the Larks lineup. In the top of the third inning following a hit-by-pitch of Johnson, Anderson belted a two-run shot off Huskies starter Nick Scheidler for his third home run of the season.

Much like the last time the Larks came to town the early inning lead wouldn’t last long.

A four-run bottom of the fourth for the Huskies could have easily given the birds of Bismarck a sick feeling in their stomach. And yes, the pun is intended due to the illness spreading throughout the team.

Boyles was chased out of the bottom of the fourth inning after walking the first two hitters and giving up back-to-back hits to the next two hitters. JC Bonilla entered into the game out of the Larks bullpen limiting the damage, but still allowing the go-ahead run to score via a Kyle Hubbuch RBI double.

There would be a quick response by Bismarck however. Mitch Gallagher lined a 1-1 pitch from Scheidler into centerfield for a base hit and Johnson laced an RBI double into the right-center field gap on the first pitch of the at-bat. Four pitches into the very next frame and this game was tied at 4-4.

The Larks would add another run in that inning to take the lead, but the Huskies responded right back with a run of their own to tie up the game.

Needing two more runs to eventually win this ballgame, Johnson and Coldiron would deliver a pair of RBI singles in the sixth and seventh innings respectively. It was Johnson’s third hit of the day as he finished 3-4 with a double and two RBI. It was Coldiron’s one and only hit of the day, but the most important one of the game.

That wasn’t the only important thing Coldiron did in this game.

Coldiron didn’t just serve as a body behind home plate today. The kid from Kilgore, TX recorded three assists from the catcher position gunning down Huskies baserunners at second base in the first, fourth, and eighth inning.

The most important of them all occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning when Isaac Collins attempted to steal second with the score in favor of the Larks at 7-5. It proved pivotal because on the very next pitch following the caught stealing Rob Emery belted a solo home run off Bonilla.

Had Collins stayed put at first base or stolen second successfully, the game would have been tied at seven runs a piece. However, that was the last run that the Huskies would score in attempts of coming back.

The Larks bullpen shined as Bonilla tallied outs in crucial situations and Noah Luedtke recorded his first save of the season stranding the game-tying run that stood just 90 feet away.

Bonilla ended up as the winning pitcher as he tossed four and two-thirds innings of long relief allowing two earned runs on four hits. Luedtke allowed just one baserunner due to a walk as he went one and one-thirds innings with no hits allowed.

The Larks go for the sweep tomorrow with Alex Ross as their probable starter.

First pitch is set for 6:35pm from Wade Stadium. Follow along on the sole home of Larks Baseball on the road at mixlr.com/larksbaseball.

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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