Bismarck manager Sean Repay has coined a new name for his Northwoods League team: Cardiac Larks.
Bismarck won a third game at Bismarck Municipal in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday, beating the Mankato Moondogs 2-1 when Newt Johnson was hit by pitch with the bases loaded.
“Cardiac Larks man,” Repay said. “We love coming down to the wire. To me, there is no better team in the bottom of the ninth.”
The Moondogs pushed across one run in the eighth inning to tie the game against Larks reliever Jeff Lindgren. He missed out on earning his third save but he ended up with his first win. He pitched two innings for the first time this season in relief of starter Tyler Steele.
“Tyler had a great seven innings, and I tried my best to get him a win,” Lindgren said. “I feel bad because I snaked a ‘W’ from him but it is what it is and a ‘W’ is a ‘W.’”
Steele, who was bidding for his fourth win of the season, went seven innings before being replaced due to his 98-pitch count. He gave up two hits and struck out seven.
Repay said without the league-mandated count, he would have stayed with Steele. “He’s not going to bring that 90-mile-a-hour fastball but he’s going to get it done,” Repay said. “He’s a competitor.”
He also defended Lindgren’s work.
“I don’t even care that he gave up a run. It’s going to happen, I’m glad it happened now. We wanted to try Jeff for two innings for the first time this year.”
Losing pitcher Joey Gerber walked Scooter Bynum to open the ninth, then struck out Mitch Gallagher.
Paschke then worked the count full and was hit on the knee. Both runners moved up on Ryan Anderson’s groundout.
Gerber then intentionally walked Cooper Coldiron and went to a 3-1 count on Johnson before hitting him in the ribs.
“I swear to you, I had a vision Newt was going to wear one (get hit),” Repay said. “He had a lot of movement on his ball. I called that one in my mind.”
The game was a pitchers’ duel throughout.
Mankato starter Collin Floyd and the Larks' Steele battled through four scoreless innings, neither allowing a runner past second base until the Larks’ half of the fifth.
Bynum led off the inning with a single up the middle and went to second on a wild pitch.
Gallagher, who extended his hitting streak to six games, flied out to center and Paschke walked. Anderson then lined a single to left to score Bynum with the game’s first run.
Gallagher has had at least two hits in his last six games.
Floyd allowed three of the four batters he faced to reach base in the sixth and left with runners on first and second and two outs. Matt Young came in struck out Bynum to end the threat.
Steele came back out in the seventh and shut the Moondogs down in order, then gave way to Lindgren to start the eighth.
Lindgren, the Larks’ top reliever, issued his first walk of the season to Nick Vaage to lead off. Vaage went to third on Chris Schaeffer’s pinch hit single to short centerfield and scored on Jake Shepski’s fielder’s choice.
Bismarck (11-12) had 10 hits, all singles. Bynum and Luke Waldek also had two hits apiece.
The Moondogs (10-11) had just four hits.
The teams play again tonight in the final game of the series and homestand. The Larks won’t return home until June 29.