DULUTH, MN – Game 37 means the start of a new season for teams in the Northwoods League. The second half gives teams a second chance to play their best baseball and make a playoff push.
Bismarck traveled to Duluth to start the second half of the season and fell to the Huskies by a final score of 9-5.
Early on, it looked like the Larks were ready to start fresh and get out of their mini funk.
Noah Sadler got the Larks on the scoreboard in the top of the first. His sac fly scored Connor Perry to give the Larks an early 1-0 lead over the Huskies.
The Huskies were unphased. In the bottom half, Rob Emery unloaded on a two-run home run to left field to put Duluth up 2-1.
In turn, the Larks were also unphased. Luke Waldek’s two-RBI single in the top of second put the Larks back in front by one with a 3-2 lead.
Later in the inning, Paschke grounded into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop Chase Strumpf. Mitch Gallagher beat the throw to second, allowing both Waldek and Perry to score, putting the Larks up 5-2.
Ryan Cunningham threw more than 35 pitches in the second inning to chase him from the ballgame.
Scoring stopped until the bottom of the 5th when Kyle Hubbuch doubled to right field to score Strumpf with two outs in the inning to make it 5-3 Larks.
In the next inning, Larks starter Byrd nearly got out the inning with no damage, but the Huskies had other plans. An Isaac Collins broken-bat flare landed just out of the reach of a diving Gallagher to score Jack Stronach.
Byrd was replaced by Jamie Kaye after 5.2 innings. He allowed seven hits and five earned runs while walking five and striking out three.
Kaye, the former Huskie, did not have the outing he would have liked in his return. The Huskies rattled off five straight hits to score five runs off of Kaye (one charged to Byrd) and push back in front. Just like that, the Huskies led 9-5 after six.
That was it. Both teams either scored in bulk or not at all as the relief pitching for Duluth kept the Larks from stringing hits together.
Piero Amadaor, John Gonrowski, and Kevin Folman combined to throw the final seven innings for the Huskies. Together, they allowed zero runs, just three hits, and walked just one Larks hitter.
Amador was the winning pitcher of record after throwing 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball. Kaye was on the losing side after throwing 1.1 innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits.
Offensively, Gallagher quietly went 3-for-5 and Waldek was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored from the nine spot. For Duluth, Rob Emery led the charge as he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
It was a tough start to the second half for the Larks (16-21) after the first two innings, but tip your cap to the Duluth (16-20) bullpen for picking up Cunningham and giving the offense a chance.
Larks and Huskies are back in action tomorrow at 6:35pm. Larks return to Bismarck on Friday to start a four-game homestand.
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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