After a night off, Austin Pashcke and Noah Sadler came out refreshed on Sunday and led the Bismarck Larks to a 7-6 Northwoods League win over St. Cloud at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.
“I know my players,” Bismarck manager Sean Repay said. “Noah struggled the day before, so did Austin. They just needed that day. Sometimes you just need a mental day."
Repay told both players not to pick up a bat before or during Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Thunder Bay.
The pair made up for lost time Sunday.
“I could see it in their eyes and their mannerisms when they need the mental. I told them not to pick up a bat, take a day and don’t think about hitting,” Repay said.
Paschke, the big first-baseman, was 3-for-4 with four runs batted in. Right-fielder Sadler was 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI, two walks, a sac bunt and a stolen base.
“It was fun,” Paschke said. “We made a couple of errors but made some good defensive plays when it counted. It’s hard to stay focused. You just have to grind.”
The Larks outhit the Rox 12-7. Scooter Bynum was 2-for-4 with an RBI; Ryan Anderson was 2-for-4 with a homer and Cooper Coldiron was 2-for-3 and scored twice.
Mitch Gallagher walked twice and scored twice, including a run in the three-run second inning that gave the Larks a 3-2 lead.
A trio of Bismarck pitchers had to grind out the win. Starter Tyler Steele went five innings and left with the lead despite four walks and five hits.
Reliever Jamie Kaye came on in the sixth and got to win. He went 3.2 innings, gave up two hits and walked five. Zach Walz relieved with two outs in the ninth and got the save.
Bismarck pitchers went to three-ball counts on 18 batters, while St. Cloud pitchers went to three-ball counts on nine hitters and walked eight.
That makes it tough on a defense, which committed two costly errors.
“That’s hard, but you know what … the 3-2 counts, the guys battled through,” Repay said. We bore down when we needed to.”
St. Cloud went up 2-0 in the first inning against Steele. Mason Mamarella doubled and scored on Shane Selman’s single, and Selman scored on an error on third-baseman Newt Johnson.
The Larks scored one in the first and three more in three second off Rox starter Carlo Graffeo, who worked into the fifth inning when he left with the bases load. Graffeo struck out four and walked six.
Kyle Boser, who took the loss, came on and struck out Johnson. Anderson then flew out to centerfield and Drew Avans cut down Paschke at the plate trying to tag and score.
The Larks also scored early. In the first, Bynum drove in Gallagher, who had walked to make it 2-1. In the second, Anderson led off with a home run and Paschke drove in two runs with a double to deep right-center. Gallagher and Coldiron came home to give the Larks a 4-2 lead.
St. Cloud tied the game 4-4 in the sixth inning without a hit.
Steele walked Selman and went to 2-0 on Brendan Illies when he was replaced by Kaye, who finished off the walk to Illies.
Johnson then fielded a bunt by Angelo Altavilla and threw wildly to first allowing Selman to score. After getting two outs, Kaye walked Spencer Holcomb and Avans to plate the tying run.
Despite the tough inning, Kaye benefitted from the Larks’ three-run sixth inning.
Damian Melis walked and moved to second on Coldiron’s single. Wyatt Ulrich reach on a bunt single to load the bases before Paschke drilled a two-run single to right and Noah Sadler’s sac fly scored Ulrich for a 7-4 lead.
St. Cloud added single runs in the seventh and ninth, the latter on Selman’s solo homer
After today's game with St. Cloud, the Larks hit the road for two games at Duluth and four games at Thunder Bay before the three-day all-star break. They play two games at Rochester before returning home for six games in five days starting July 22.