Some like it hot.
Evidently that doesn't apply to Bismarck Reps pitcher Ben Patton and Minot Metros hurler Keegan Stenvold, both right-handers.
The cool, breezy conditions at Haaland Field on Tuesday didn't seem like a prime environment for pitchers, but Patton and Stenvold adapted like ducks to water.
Patton bettered Stenvold 2-1 in a Class A West Region American Legion baseball pitchers' duel that consumed just 95 minutes.
Bismarck also won the five-inning second game 11-6. That game doesn't count in the regional standings.
Patton, now 5-1, said he likes pitching in games where every delivery is potentially game-changing. This season he hadn't encountered that challenge until Tuesday.
"Obviously, yeah, they're fun. ... When the game is on the line it feels like every pitch has 10 times more meaning," he said.
The Reps didn't take the lead until the fifth inning when Matt Nathe led off with a double and was eventually bunted home on a suicide squeeze by Troy Kuball.
Reps coach Troy Olson said Kuball's bunt to the left side, which forced third baseman Jonas Bubach to field the ball, made the play.
"That was great execution. He put down a great bunt," Olson noted.
Minot scored in the second inning on a single by Talon Hebert, an errant pickoff attempt by Patton and Braedon McCarty's looping single to right field.
Stenvold made that lead stand up until the fourth when the Reps broke through with an ugly run. Patton was hit by a pitch to open the rally, moved to third on a pair of wild pitches and scored on Gage Dolajak's bouncing single to right field.
Patton pitched out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings, stranding three and two Minot runners, respectively. He surrendered the ball to Dolajak for the final two innings after throwing 77 pitches, 48 of them strikes. He finished with nine strikeouts, walked three and hit a batter. He held the Metros to four hits
Dolajak mowed down six straight men, three by strikeout, to earn a save.
Patton said Dolajak's strong finish was no surprise.
"He's always been a good relief pitcher for us, because he throws pretty hard. He doesn't have many pitches, but his fastball can be overpowering," Patton said.
Stenvold went the distance, throwing 98 pitches, 64 strikes. He surrendered five hits, issued two walks, hit a batter and struck out 10.
Patton said Stenvold's breaking stuff was giving the Reps trouble.
"He had a funky release point and changed speeds really well. ... He gave us trouble the whole game. It almost seemed like (Stenvold's breaking pitches) got better," Patton observed.
Patton got a lot of mileage out of his breaking pitches, as well.
"At the beginning (the curve) was working. After I'd gone through their entire lineup and they'd all seen the curve I started to mix in some sliders to give them something they hadn't seen before," Patton said.
The slider is a recent addition to Patton's repertoire.
"I just started throwing it at the start of the summer. (Olson) taught me how to throw it," he noted.
Tuesday's victory gives the Reps a 7-3 record in regional action. First-place Minot dipped to 9-2.
The Reps turn around and play the Mandan A's in another doubleheader today at Haaland Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.