Larks use stellar start from Steele and Bynum’s grand slam to end four game losing streak.
WILLMAR, MN – You wouldn't have been able to tell that the Larks were on a four game losing streak if you watched them play tonight at Bill Taunton Stadium.
The Bismarck Larks defeated the Willmar Stingers by a final score of 7-4 to win their first game in the last five opportunities.
The starting pitchers stole the spotlight in the first two innings of this contest. Stingers (9-8) starting pitcher Hayden Petrovick was able to work around two walks to keep the Larks (8-9) off the board after two innings of play.
As for the Larks starter Tyler Steele, he sat down the first six batters he faced to begin his third start of the 2017 season.
However, there was a fork in the road. Steele chose the right direction. Petrovick chose the wrong direction.
In the top of the third inning, Petrovick loaded the bases thanks to a bunt single by Wyatt Ulrich, a walk to Newt Johnson, and a HBP of Noah Sadler. The free passes came back to haunt Petrovick as Scooter Bynum made him pay with a grand slam home run.
The first grand slam in Larks history made it 4-0 and in their very next at-bat the Larks were out for more runs.
The top of the fourth inning included an Ulrich RBI double that scored David Salguiero. Mitch Gallagher followed suit with a sacrifice fly scoring Ulrich and Noah Sadler recorded his eighth RBI of the season as he drove home Johnson.
The Larks chased Petrovick out of the top of the fourth as he was done after three and two-thirds innings giving up seven runs with five of them being earned. Petrovick was able to strike out three, but issued five total base on balls.
Petrovick chose the wrong direction right on out of the game as his counterpart dazzled pitching eight innings of one run baseball.
Steele had every pitch working tonight as he was inducing weak contact keeping the Stingers offense off balance. From the final two outs of the bottom of the fourth to the first out of the bottom of the seventh, Steele retired nine straight hitters with the latter seven as ground ball outs.
The only earned run off Steele came in the bottom of the eighth inning when Marcus Still recorded his lone hit of the night eventually being brought home thanks to an RBI sac fly by Brady Shockey.
Steele posted a final line that included eight innings pitched, one earned run given up, six hits allowed, and zero walks issued. The southpaw out of Kingsburg, CA moved to 3-0 on the season while lowering his ERA to 2.25 ultimately earning the Northwoods League Pitcher of the Night honors. He becomes the second Lark to receive this award as Ryan Byrd earned the accomplishment back on Opening Night.
Jeff Lindgren successfully recorded his second save of the season on just 12 pitches. Lindgren has yet to allow a run on the year so far as he has allowed just three total hits in six innings of work.
This time there was no dramatic play at the plate to end the game.
As odd as this may sound knowing that the Larks made four errors tonight, this was the most complete game the Larks have played all season.
The pitching from both Steele and Lindgren combined with the timely hitting from players such as Bynum and Ulrich foreshadowed what the Larks are capable of doing. Despite setting a team high in errors, the defense showcased their talent as every infielder made a highlight play before the night’s end.
The Larks hope to limit the errors tomorrow as they will travel 60 miles north to Alexandria to play a neutral site game finishing the series against the Stingers.
The birds of Bismarck look to stay undefeated against Willmar on the season having won the first three matchups. Micah Beyer will be the starting pitcher in tomorrow’s game where the Larks attempt to get back to .500 before returning home.
First pitch of the final game in the longest road trip of the season is set for 7:05pm on mixlr.com/larksbaseball.
# # #
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