BISMARCK, ND – It might sound cliche but there are always positives that a team can take away from a ballgame, even when your team doesn’t come out on top.
The Bismarck Larks were beat by the Waterloo Bucks in game two of the day-night doubleheader by a final score of 5-1.
Amongst several of the positive takeaways was the night that JC Bonilla put together on the mound.
In Bonilla’s first start for the Larks on the 2017 season, he did exactly what every starting pitcher is told to do: give your team a chance to win.
Bonilla would do exactly that as he tossed five and one-thirds innings while giving up just two earned runs. The Bronx, NY native allowed just three hits on the night and combated his four walks with five strikeouts. The five and one-thirds innings of work, along with the five strikeouts, set season-high marks for Bonilla.
Besides the Bucks clean-up hitter, Brandon Gutzler, no one else was able to do a whole lot of damage off of Bonilla.
With two outs and Jay Schuyler standing on third in the top of the first inning, Gutzler lined a ball back up the middle for an RBI single to record only his second hit of the series in 11 attempts. The two-out hit put the Bucks up 1-0 after a half inning of play.
Fast forward to the top of the fifth inning where the score remained stagnant at a 1-0 Bucks lead. Gutzler was presented with yet another RBI opportunity and wouldn’t fail to deliver. This time he used the means of a sacrifice fly to bring home Charlie Concannon.
Unfortunately for the Larks, on this night, the two runs is all the runs the Bucks would need to come out on top.
The Bucks can thank starter Ryan Garcia for that.
After walking Connor Perry to begin the bottom of the first and allowing Bynum to single two batters later, Garcia put together an impeccable streak. The California kid retired the next 15 batters that he faced with 10 of the 15 outs recorded as strikeouts.
The streak would come to a close when Perry walked for the second time on the night with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Larks began to piece something together as Luke Waldek followed up the walk with an infield single. After going completely silent for four-plus innings, the Larks had a legitimate shot to cut into the Bucks lead with Scooter Bynum coming up to the plate.
Due to the fact that Bynum had four hits on the day overall and that Garcia was inching closer to the century mark in pitches, Field Manager Scott Douglas decided to go to a lefty out of the bullpen. The move paid off in full as Matthew Parea got Bynum to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
This turned out to be the Larks best chance to take a little momentum into the latter innings of the ballgame and they couldn’t come through. They ended up putting runners on first and third with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Waldek struck out to end the frame.
At that time the Bucks had added another run and would go on to add two more in the top of the ninth to give them a 5-0 lead with just three outs left to get in the ballgame.
Insert another positive takeaway from the ballgame when the Larks didn’t go down without a fight.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, three out of the first four hitters to come to the plate reached base safely. Quinn Irey helped his team find solace in the fact that they weren’t shutout on this night as he drove home Bynum via a sacrifice fly.
This happened to be the lone run the Larks would score on the night as they fell by a final of 5-1.
There were positive takeaways from this game. Already listed is the starting performance from Bonilla and the Larks showing an inability to go down without putting up a fight. Not listed is the fact that the Larks did get a win on this day with a 9-3 victory over the Bucks in game one of the doubleheader.
The birds of Bismarck hit the road for six games as they’ll make stops in St. Cloud, Waterloo, and La Crosse before returning home to The Nest on August 2nd.
First pitch tomorrow from Joe Faber Field as the Larks take on the Rox is set for 7:05pm. Follow the live broadcast with Troy Weiman and Toph Buzzard on mixlr.com/larksbaseball.
# # #
The Bismarck Larks are a member of the finest developmental league for 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, 180 former 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 portal. For more information, visit www.bismarcklarks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Larks as your favorite team.