Tyler Steele won the first Northwoods League game he ever pitched in as a Bismarck Lark — the team’s first game ever — way back in May.
Steele won the last game he’ll ever play as a Lark this season on Friday, beating the Rochester Honkers 6-3 in relief at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.
Steele worked 4.1 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits, struck out our and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth.
“I wanted to finish on a high note. This is my last game,” Steele said. “I really just wanted to come out and get a W.”
Bismarck manager Sean Repay said Steele (4-3) was scheduled to start today, but was going to leave after Friday’s game so he was moved to the bullpen.
“We knew from the get-go that he was going to be the first guy out of the bullpen and the way he threw, he was the guy,” Repay said.
He was at his best in the ninth, even if he had to wiggle out of a little trouble. Leading by three, he faced the heart of the powerful Honkers (71 homers) lineup.
“He (Zach Zubia) is one of the forces in this league and you can’t just throw fastballs to him,” Steele said. “There’s a lot of other guys I’d rather face than him. I worked around him.”
After walking Zubia to load the bases, Steele got Ryan Fitzpatrick to fly out to center to end the game.
“I understand what (Luke) Horanski and Steele were doing with Zubia,” Repay said. “They knew what they were doing.”
Ryan Anderson, Scooter Bynum and Collin Einertson gave starter Carson Selin and Steele most of the offensive support that included 11 hits.
Anderson, the Larks’ leading hitter, had four hits for the first time this season. Bynum had three hits, including a double, drove in two runs and scored a run. Einertson drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the sixth.
Bismarck took a 2-0 lead against Rochester starter Kenyon Yovan in the second inning. Noah Sadler walked to lead off and scored on Horanski’s one-out double. Collin Einertson followed with a single that plated Horanski.
Yovan went just 3.2 innings before he was replaced by Spencer Johnson (2-2) despite giving up just five hits. Johnson threw one pitch to get out of the inning.
Selin cruised into the fourth inning on just 32 pitches. But the Honkers scored a run when Morgan McCullough worked a walk and scored on a close play at the plate on Fitzpatrick’s single to left.
Rochester (10-16, second half, 26-35 overall) took a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
Michael Michalak led off with a walk and scored when Weston Hatten laced a hard single off the left-field wall to tie it. Morgan McCullough lined the next pitch into the left-field corner for a double than drove home Hatten.
The Larks took Selin off the hook in the fifth when Anderson collected his third hit of the game to score Bynum. Anderson was thrown out trying stretch his single into a double.
The Larks (12-16, 28-35) handed Steele a 4-3 lead in the seventh when Einertson doubled over the head of right-fielder Jordan Hart. Spencer Gillund, who had singled, beat the throw home.
They clung to a 4-3 lead before scoring two times in the eighth to give Steele some insurance. Bynum’s two-out single with the bases loaded drove in two runs.
The teams play the third game of the four-game series tonight.