Pitching, hitting and defense. When it all comes together like it did on Thursday for the Bismarck Larks, there’s not much anybody can do but take your lumps.
The Larks played error-free ball, banged out 14 hits of their own and scattered eight hits in an 11-2 Northwoods League win over the Duluth Huskies at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.
“The most pleasing thing I saw was us playing a complete baseball game all around,” Bismarck manager Sean Repay said. “No errors, hit the ball all over the place, just playing a complete game.”
Centerfielder Scooter Bynum had two hits, drove in two runs and scored twice. He also ran down several balls headed for the gaps.
Austin Paschke, Noah Sadler, Ryan Anderson and Newt Johnson had two hits apiece. Every player in the Larks’ starting lineup had at least one hit.
Bismarck (15-16) pitchers have allowed runs in just one of their last 20 innings. Both those scored in the sixth off Byrd. The lefty went six innings and gave up six hits while striking out two.
“It was fun today,” Byrd said. “Everyone was really excited about being home after that six-game road trip. It’s comfortable pitching with great defense behind you.”
David Manasek and Noah Luedtke finished up. Mansek pitched in his first game, going two innings. Luedtke pitched the ninth.
“Our guys have been throwing the heck out of the ball all year,” Repay said.
Two Duluth errors led to the Larks’ first run.
In the first inning, Perry reached on a fielding error by first baseman Kyle Hubbach and went to second on Paschke’s single. Perry then stole third and the throw from catcher Dean Nevarez went into left field, allowing Perry to race home.
Perry also scored in the five-run third inning that chased Duluth starter Ryan Cunningham from the game.
Perry reached on a bunt single and went to second on Mitch Gallagher’s single. Paschke walked to load the bases and Perry scored on Noah Sadler’s single.
Gallagher then scored on Bynum’s bases-loaded walk. And that was it for Cunningham, who gave up six runs on five hits in two innings.
The Larks’ first seven batters reached in the third and the first five scored as Bismarck went up 6-0. Byrd sat while the Larks batted around but the delay didn’t seem to bother him as he worked out of a two-out jam.
The Larks added to their lead in the fifth when Bynum reached on a fielder’s choice and scored when Newt Johnson tripled off the centerfield wall. Johnson then scored on Cooper Coldiron’s single for an 8-0 lead.
The Huskies finally got through to Byrd in the sixth. Camryn Williams singled and Jake Pries doubled him to third. Williams scored on Chase Strumpf’s groundout and Pries later scored on a wild pitch on a strikeout of Nevarez that would have been the third out of the inning.
The Larks tacked on three more runs in the sixth. Bynum, Anderson and Johnson drove in runs for an 11-2 lead.
The teams play again tonight in the final game of the series.