Baseball team learning in early going
MINOT – The Rugby High School baseball team expected some growing pains and the season opener included a few.
Bishop Ryan baseball had no trouble scoring runs last season. The same was the case on Monday as the Lions blanked the Panthers, 10-0, in four innings of non-district play.
Fresh off its first state tournament appearance in three seasons, Ryan made quick work of Rugby at Jack Hoeven Field. Amid strong winds, Ryan brought 11 batters to the plate in the first inning. Seven went on to score.
Rugby coach Kendall Schieve said he was pleased to see sophomore pitcher Evan Burckhard settle in after a rough first inning.
“They put the ball in play, every one of their guys,” Schieve said. “Evan threw 35 pitches in the first inning and just three pitches in the second. Then he settled down from there and shook the cobwebs off.”
Ryan posted seven runs in the opening frame.
“Last spring, we did that pretty consistent most of the time,” BRHS coach Brent Nelson said. “We scored a lot of runs, and if we can get 8-10 runs, I’ll feel pretty comfortable. Our pitchers throw strikes, and our defense does a good job behind them.”
The Panthers lone hit came from sophomore Ryan Michels. Lions senior starter Austin Eggl threw 42 pitches in four innings of work, striking out four while allowing just one hit and no runs.
“It was good just to get outside and see some live pitching,” Schieve said. “Ryan’s a great team and we saw one of their best pitchers.”
Ryan tallied eight hits in the win, including a pair of RBI triples from seniors Nick Berentson and Mason Kramer.
Had it not been so windy, Kramer’s triple, which one-hopped against the right-field fence, would likely have resulted in the senior’s first home run of the season. He hit four in 2013.
“We’ll get a lot of games like this in North Dakota, where the wind affects so much,” Kramer said. “You’ve gotta hit to get on base, because there aren’t going to be a lot of balls hit out of the park in this weather.”
Kramer went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. All but one Ryan player scored.
“I just kept throwing it and doing what I could to find the strike zone,” Burckhard said. “They’re a good team. If you throw a strike they’re probably gonna hit it. I did what I could to keep it from their good hitters.”
RHS senior Jaedon Haman said the team wasn’t too discouraged and is excited to build off the loss.
“It was a good starting game of the year,” Haman said. “The scoreboard may have said differently, but it was a good start for us.”
RHS held its home opener and regional opener on Thursday against Bottineau. The Panthers played a doubleheader against Velva on Friday. They play at North Star on Monday and host Harvey on Tuesday.
– Tribune editor Tim Chapman also contributed to this report.
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