Jake Engen's first shutout came at clutch time for Williston.
The senior right-hander needed just 83 pitches to blank Bismarck 5-0 in the opening game of the West Region baseball tournament on Thursday at the Sanford Sports Complex. The top-seeded Coyotes improved to 24-3 on the season, setting up a semifinal showdown with Mandan on Friday.
"Last week against St. Mary's they scored one on me. This is my first," the lanky 6-foot-3 Engen said of the shutout. "Little nervous at first but then I was able to find the groove."
The two teams combined for nearly as many errors (8) as hits (9).
"We had too many runners left on base (8), and when you throw in five errors and only four hits, that's not going to win a lot of games," BHS coach Jim Patton said.
The Demons got strong relief work from sophomore Caiden Schwehr, who entered in the third inning trailing 4-0. Schwehr allowed just one run the rest of the way.
"He kept us in it," Patton said of Schwehr. "He was effectively kind of all over the place and that works."
All five of Williston's hits were singles. Two of their runs scored on double steals, another on an error. Brady Aberle had the lone run-scoring hit, an infield single in the second inning. The Coyotes also coaxed seven walks.
"We'd like to hit the ball a little better, but we had a couple timely hits and their pitchers, both of them, did a good job," said Williston coach Aaron Finders.
The Coyotes have not lost since April 23.
"The guys have played so well, been so consistent," Finders said. "It's been great."
Pitching often times has been the key, like on Thursday.
"Jake Engen did a great job for us," Finders said.
Nick Hinsz had two of Bismarck's four hits. The Demons face Legacy at 11 a.m. on Friday in a loser-out tilt.
"There's no blood lost," Patton said. "We still have two days to win two more baseball games and accomplish what we set out to do."