The Bismarck Larks promised a fireworks show the night before the Fourth of July and delivered as much on Monday at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark – on and off the field.
The Larks and Willmar Stingers pounded out six home runs and four doubles, and the Larks prevailed 15-13 in a game in which they won despite themselves.
It was almost Independence Day when the 3-hour, 51-minute marathon finally ended and real fireworks boomed over the park.
Willmar (18-17) had its three-game winning streak snapped by a five-run eighth inning. The Larks (16-19) had lost three in a row.
“I can’t be mad after you win a ballgame like that,” Larks manager Sean Repay said. “We need to clean some stuff up. It was addressed in the dugout during the game. Ever since, things got better.”
The Larks had more than enough offense against seven Wilmar pitchers.
Scooter Bynum had one of the Larks’ four homers. He had three of the team’s season-high 18 hits, scored three times and drove in two.
“We’re relieved. We’re going to get out butts chewed out by coach. We had six errors, he’s not going to be a happy camper.”
Bynum said the Larks are never out of any game. “We just kept scrapping. Home runs helped.”
Connor Perry had three hits and a homer. Luke Waldek homered and Austin Paschke had a homer and scored three runs. Ryan Anderson had three hits.
Every Larks player had at least one hit.
“Our offense picked us up. That’s huge,” Repay said. “We hammered out 18 hits.”
The Stingers countered with 11. They led all the way until the eighth after back-to-back four-run innings in the fourth and fifth.
Bismarck reliever Nick Walz pitched the eighth inning and left with the Larks trailing 13-10. Bismarck scored five runs in the ninth and Jeff Lindgren pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
Willmar reliever Calvin Coker took the loss. He was literally knocked out of the game by a line drive, but all five Bismarck runs were attributed to him.
Nolan Bumstead had three hits, including one of the Stingers’ two homers. Eli Wilson also homered.
Shortstop Nate Sterijevski had two hits and pitched scoreless relief in the eighth after Coker was drilled and helped off the field.