Bogner throws gem as Mandan heads to Border Battle semis (2022)

Josh Dungan

Mandan already knew they would play in the semifinals of the Border Battle Legion baseball tournament when they took the field against Minot on Saturday evening.

What was yet to be decided was Minot's slot, and Mandan made the choice for them with a 6-0 shutout of the Vistas behind an excellent performance from Avery Bogner on the mound.

"Our effort was a tale of two games and that started on the mound," Chiefs head coach Jake Kincaid said. "In the nightcap, Avery struggled a bit in the first inning but his will came through and he found a way to settle down and he gave us 6-and-two-thirds of great baseball."

Granite Falls taking a 2-0 loss to Saskatoon to drop their record to 0-3 in pool play was all Mandan needed to be assured a semifinals spot.

That didn't mean the Chiefs didn't want to play well, especially after taking a tough 8-1 loss to Fargo Post 2 in their opening game Saturday morning.

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"It all starts with our preparation," Kincaid said. "We stepped on the field today and put ourselves behind the 8 ball right away. They're a hard team to come back against, they grind you down and you look up and you're down three runs.

"We always tell our kids we want to get out of our comfort zone, but the mentality we want them to have is that there is a score and we want to have more runs at the end of the game."

Despite a shaky top of the first from Bogner, in which he walked the first two batters he faced and had a runner on third with one out before escaping the jam, the Chiefs put their offense right to work in the bottom of the first.

Bogner scored Mandan's first run. He worked a walk against Minot starter Parker Hann, advanced to second on a balk, one of four in the game by Minot's two pitchers, went to third on a groundout by batterymate Isaac Huettl, then scored on a groundout by Brayden Bunnell.

"To start off the game, I couldn't really locate a pitch to save my life," Bogner said. "As what our coaches keep saying, gotta bear down, and that's what I did, I focused on where I need to locate and the right pitch to throw at the right time.

"It feels nice (to hit for myself), because I feel like the coaches have a lot of confidence in me, because there's normally a DH for the pitcher, but it gives me confidence knowing that I can go out and pitch and then come back in and hit for myself."

Bogner settled in on the mound after the first, and Mandan's offense kept chipping away.

Bogner was at the plate when Hann's second balk in two innings brought in teammate Seth Arenz from third, and after Bogner reached on a fielder's choice, he scored when Huettl drove a double to the wall.

Kincaid, whose team has already been victimized by an ill-timed balk this season, knows what balks can do to a team.

"It's something that really changes momentum," he said. "It's one of those weird quirks of baseball that can put a finger on the scale a little bit. It's hard to recover from."

While Mandan would add more runs, three would be more than enough.

"Isaac Huettl turned around some balls and put them in some gaps," Kincaid said. "For everybody to see that, there were opportunities for us to feed off of that. It's always nice to see the outfielder's backs and take some pressure off that way when balls find barrels."

Minot put runners on in the second, third, fifth, and seventh innings, but Bogner cruised right along, calmly getting outs at the drop of a hat.

Only the runner in the seventh advanced past second, giving Bogner plenty of wiggle room with Minot's sluggish lineup.

"All I needed to do was locate, locate, locate," Bogner said. "I gotta give a lot of credit to Isaac and the coaches for calling a good game. The last time I played (Minot) it didn't go (my) way, but it feels good to get over the hump. It felt good to throw less than 10 pitches in an inning, especially after the first inning."

Mandan had multiple chances to blow the game open, but multiple outs on the basepaths kept Minot within relative striking distance.

Those outs on the basepaths were balanced out somewhat by the Chiefs stealing half a dozen bags, with Bogner, Lucas Burgum, McCoy Keller, Arenz and Anthony Johnson all taking an extra base.

"The big part of that was we were engaged on the basepaths," Kincaid said. "I'd like to see us clean up some things when the ball is in play on the bases, but we do have to have that carryover for being aggressive and doing a better job on our pre-pitch preparation."

Despite several mistakes, Mandan would add individual runs in both the fourth and sixth, with the run in the fourth coming on a wild pitch and the run in the sixth coming on Burgum's second sacrifice fly of the game.

"I liked our mentality at the plate," Kincaid said. "I do think there were some chances where we could have busted it open, so that was a little disappointing because any time you give a team a pulse, there's a chance they come back and get you. From that standpoint it was a little disappointing, but I liked our approaches at the plate."

Bogner came close to tossing a complete game, but hit the pitch limit after getting the second out in the seventh and was lifted for Keller, who struck out Tyson Ruzicka to end the game with Minot courtesy runner Tyler Budeau at third.

"I got to the pitch limit, which I respect that, but it did suck to not get the last out," Bogner said. "Still got the win, and I'm happy about that, and McCoy did a good job of getting the last out."

Their 2-1 record in pool play provides Mandan an opportunity for revenge, as they will take on Fargo Post 2 in the first of two semifinals, with Bismarck tangling with Saskatoon, the beneficiary of Mandan's six-run win, in the second.

Winners of the semifinals play this afternoon for the championship, and the Chiefs are looking forward to the opportunity to try and win a title on their home turf.

"They beat us, so there's some revenge coming towards them," Bogner said. "Gotta be ready to play against them, because they're no cake walk. We have a lot of motivation heading into that game."

Minot's six-run loss meant they were on the losing end of the tiebreaker with Saskatoon, and they will play in the consolation game to start the day at Mandan Memorial Stadium.

Border Battle Pool Play

Mandan 6, Minot 0

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Man;130;101;x;--;6;6;0

Parker Hann, Hunter Horner (3) and Jaxson Radke; Avery Bogner, McCoy Keller (7) and Isaac Huettl. W -- Bogner. L -- Hann. HR: None.

Highlights: Minot -- Morgan Nygaard 1-2, BB, SB; Jonas Bubach 1-3; Radke 1-2, BB; Tyler Budeau 2 SB; Hann 2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 2 balks; Hunter Horner 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 balk. Mandan – Bogner 1-3, BB, 3 R, SB; Huettl 2-4, 2 2B, RBI; Lucas Burgum 0-1, BB, 2 RBIs, 2 SF, SB; Keller 1-2, BB, HBP, SB; Seth Arenz 1-3, R, SB; Anthony Johnson 1-2, BB, R, SB; Bogner 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K; Keller 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

Records: Minot 1-5, Mandan 3-2.

SUNDAY SCHEDULE

Mandan Memorial Field

Consolation game: Granite Falls (0-3) vs. Minot (1-2), 9 a.m.

Semifinal One: Mandan (2-1) vs. Fargo Post 2 (2-1), 11:15 a.m.

Semifinal Two: Bismarck (3-0) vs. Saskatoon (1-2), 1:30 p.m.

Championship Game: Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2, 3:45 p.m.

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Tags

  • Jake Kincaid
  • Avery Bogner
  • Semifinal
  • Baseball
  • Sport
  • Mandan
  • Minot
  • Tournament

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