Wolves off to a busy start of baseball season
By Neal A. Shipman
After Watford City’s baseball season got off to a slow, weather-delayed start, the Wolves finally hit the diamond last week. And what a start it was as the Wolves’ varsity team won five of its six games.
Watford City opened its season on April 6 with a pair of wins over Lewis & Clark and then defeated Stanley and the Dickinson High JV before heading to Bismarck to play in a three-game series at the Shiloh Tournament. At the tournament, the Wolves picked up a win over Harvey before falling to Shiloh. Watford City then closed out the busy week of action defeating Enderlin on Saturday.
“We had two great days at the Shiloh Invitational in Bismarck playing some very quality baseball teams and enjoyed playing on their new field turf stadium,” stated Justin Johnsrud, Wolves’ head coach. “Hopefully our success at Shiloh will push us in the right direction and give us the confidence to reach our potential in the 2014 season. We learned a lot about our team and I am very pleased with the way we played in our first week of the season.”
This week due to the Easter holiday, the Wolves, who are 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in region play, will only be playing one game as Watford City travels to Williston on Thursday to take on the Coyote JV team at 4:30 p.m.
Watford City 15, Lewis & Clark 0
Watford City 7, Lewis & Clark 6
Watford City got its 2014 baseball season off to a great start as the Wolves swept Lewis & Clark in a pair of games on Monday, April 7. The Wolves scored 15 runs on 14 hits to take the first game and then edged Lewis & Clark, 7-6, in the second game.
“In our first game of the season we hit the ball very well with 14 hits,” stated Johnsrud. “Every starter ended the game with at least one hit.”
The Wolves led Lewis & Clark, 1-0, after two innings of play before Watford City’s bats came alive in the third and fourth innings. Watford City scored six unanswered runs in the third inning and then closed the game out with eight runs in the fourth.
At the plate Andrew Sampsel, Trent Grimes and David Kline had doubles, while Brandon Allex had a triple to lead the Wolves in batting.
On the mound, Andrew Sampsel picked up the win after he came in to relieve Dakota Neether, who pitched the first two innings of the game.
The second game of the day was much closer than the first but the Wolves still came out on top with a 7-6 win over Lewis & Clark.
Lewis & Clark led the Wolves, 4-2, after three innings of play, but the Wolves rallied with five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take the win.
Trent Grimes homered for the Wolves while Andrew Sampsel and David Kline each had a double for Watford City.
Three Watford City pitchers took to the mound for the Wolves in the win as Mitchell Liebel pitched the first 2-1/3 innings and gave up four runs and four walks, while striking out two batters. Dustin Kleppen pitched 1-2/3 innings and gave up two runs and struck out one batter, while David Kline pitched the final inning and struck out one batter.
Game 1 R H E
Lewis & Clark 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2
Watford City 1 0 6 8 x 15 14 1
Game 2 R H E
Lewis & Clark 0 0 4 2 0 6 6 0
Watford City 0 0 2 5 x 7 11 1
Watford City 11, Stanley 0
Watford City scored 11 runs on 11 hits as the Wolves crushed Stanley, 11-0, on April 8.
The two teams were scoreless in the first three innings of play before Watford City’s offense came alive. The Wolves would score two runs in the fourth inning and then tack on four more runs in the fifth inning before closing out the game with five runs in the sixth inning.
“We beat a young Stanley team on Tuesday,” stated Johnsrud. “Brandon Allex and Quayde Shores split time on the mound giving up only two hits and Trent Grimes homered for the second straight game.”
At the plate, Trent Grimes homered for the Wolves, while Andrew Sampsel had a pair of doubles.
Brandon Allex picked up the win, while Quayde Shores recorded the saves for the Wolves. Allex gave up two hits and struck out three batters in three innings of work, while Shores struck out five batters in three innings on the mound.
R H E
Watford City 0 0 0 2 4 5 0 11 11 2
Stanley 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 0 2 0
Watford City 8, Dickinson High JV 7
After jumping out to a 5-0 first inning lead, Watford City hung on to defeat the Dickinson High JV, 8-7, on April 10.
Dickinson would cut the Wolves’ lead to 6-2 after two innings of play before the Midgets would tie the game, 6-6, at the top of the fourth inning. But the Wolves would answer with a run in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead. Both teams scored one run in the fifth inning as Watford City took the win.
“We won a close game against the Dickinson High JV as we had 12 hits,” stated Johnsrud. “Our defense played well having no errors for the game and only giving up five hits.”
Trent Grimes picked up his third home run of the season at the plate for the Wolves, while Andrew Sampsel, Dakota Neether and David Kline each had a double.
Preston Milstead picked up the win for the Wolves as he stuck out one batter to close out the game for the Wolves. Grimes pitched the first 3-1/3 innings for Watford City striking out one batter while giving up six runs. Dustin Kleppen, who pitched the next 1-1/3 innings gave up one run and struck out two batters.
R H E
Dickinson High JV 0 4 0 2 1 7 5 0
Watford City 5 1 0 1 1 8 12 0
This past Friday and Saturday the Wolves competed in the Shiloh Tournament, which included six of the top 10 rated teams in the Coaches Preseason Poll. And with the Wolves coming away with picking up wins over No. 6-ranked Harvey as well as Enderlin, while losing to No. 2-ranked Shiloh, Justin Johnsrud was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We had a very solid showing in our three games,” stated Johnsrud. “We pitched well and played solid defense in all three games, and we hit the ball really well in two of the games.”
The Wolves opened the tournament with a 10-2 win over Harvey before falling to Shiloh, 3-2. In their final game, Watford City defeated Enderlin, 9-2.
Watford City 10, Harvey 2
Watford City put the hurt on No. 6-rated Harvey as the Wolves scored 10 runs on 15 hits to open the Shiloh Tournament with a big win.
Watford City scored first in the game before trailing Harvey, 2-1, after two innings of play. But a four-run fourth inning, including back-to-back home runs by Brandon Allex and David Kline, set the stage for a Wolves win.
With a 5-2 lead after three innings of play, Watford City’s pitching held Harvey scoreless for the next four innings, while Watford City would send five more runners across home plate.
“We had great plate appearances and hit the ball very well,” stated Johnsrud. “Trent Grimes was four of five with three doubles and three RBIs, while Dakota Neether pitched a great game and our defense played very well behind him.”
Neether picked up the win on the mound for the Wolves, as he pitched the complete game, giving up two runs on eight hits while striking out three batters.
R H E
Watford City 1 0 4 2 0 1 2 10 15 2
Harvey 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 1
Shiloh 3, Watford City 2
Watford City definitely gave Shiloh Christian, the No. 2-ranked team in the state, a run for their money on Friday evening as the Wolves fell to the Skyhawks, 3-2, in extra innings.
“This was a great baseball game,” stated Johnsrud. “Both teams pitched well, played solid defense and hits were hard to come by as both teams left more than 10 men on base.”
The Skyhawks led the Wolves, 2-0, after five innings of play before Watford City would tie the game in the top of the sixth inning.
“Trent Grimes scored on an Andrew Sampsel double, and then Mitchell Liebel doubled to score Sampsel to tie the game,” stated Johnsrud.
After the seventh and eighth innings, Shiloh’s lead-off batter laced a triple to right field. Watford City then intentionally walked the next two batters to load the bases. Shiloh then executed a squeeze bunt to pitcher Quayde Shores who fielded the ball and threw it to catcher David Kline for a close play at the plate that went Shiloh’s way.
“I was extremely proud of how our team played in this game,” stated Johnsrud. “Runs were scarce but our defense kept us in the game. It was one of the best games we’ve played in recent years and will go a long way in preparing us for the rest of the season.”
R H E
Watford City 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 7 0
Shiloh 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 8 0
Watford City 9, Enderlin 2
Watford City bounced back from its first loss of the season to roll over Enderlin, 9-2, on Saturday.
The Wolves got off to a fast start as they scored seven runs in the first two innings en route to the easy win.
“We bounced back nicely after a tough loss the night before,” stated Johnsrud. “Our bats found new life after struggling against Shiloh.”
The Wolves had 14 hits in the game, with David Kline going four for five, including a pair of doubles, and three RBIs.
On the mound, Brandon Allex pitched the entire game and gave up just four hits while walking three and striking out four batters.
“The Shiloh Invite was a great experience for our team,” stated Johnsrud. We played three quality baseball teams and came away with a 2-1 record, while losing a close game with the only undefeated team.”
R H E
Enderlin 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 14 2
Watford City 3 4 0 0 0 1 1 x 9 4 3