VALLEY CITY, ND (NewsDakota.com) – There were plenty of firsts this past weekend as the Valley City Saints hosted the eight team Inaugural Rally in the Valley Baseball Classic at Charlie Brown Memorial Field. The Saints won both of their games by beating the Cass County Catfish on Friday night 4-1 and Velva Effertz Key Ranch 6-2 on Saturday night. The Valley City Saints would like to thank all the players, fans, coaches, umpires, and volunteers to make sure this weekend went smoothly.
Friday – Valley City 4, Cass County 1 (Game 1)
The first ever game of the Rally in the Valley Classic took place on Friday evening as the Valley City Saints defeated the Cass County Catfish 4-1
After both pitchers got 1-2-3 innings in the 1st, the Catfish would strike first in the Top of the 2nd inning on a leadoff double by Mitch Scheer off Saints starter Evin Casey. Scheer would score on a bloop single by Brennen Neva that just barely missed the outstretched glove of 1st baseman Jake Miller. Casey would face two more batters before being relieved by Reed Butz with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out. Butz would strike the next two batters out and get out of the jam.
The Saints would finally get to Catfish starter Tyler Kliniske in the bottom of the 3rd. With walks by Cal Fougner and Andrew Schaan, Chase Feller smacked a double into the left center field gap that scored both Fougner and Gavin Wright, who ran for the catcher Schaan giving the Saints the lead they would never relinquish.
The Saints would add some insurance in the bottom of the 5th with two unearned runs off reliever Aaron Stemen. Seth Soderholm would make it 3-1 on an RBI double scoring Feller while Jake Miller was thrown out at home plate. Will Hough would make it 4-1 though on an RBI single scoring Soderholm.
Butz would get the win for the Saints with 5.2 innings of relief giving up only one hit and one walk while striking out eleven Catfish batters while Fougner led the Saints offense with a 2-for-2 day. Kliniske took the loss for the Catfish going 3 innings and giving up two runs on only one hit while striking out six. Neva had two of the three Catfish hits in the game.
Saturday – Valley City 6, Velva Effertz Key Ranch 2 (Game 7)
Once Saints pitcher Brady Engebretson saw that Velva was playing in the Rally in the Valley Classic, he said that if the Saints played Velva that he wanted the start as several of the players on Velva’s roster he played high school and Legion ball with. Engebretson didn’t disappoint against his hometown team as he shut them down through five plus innings while the offense led by Jake Miller’s 4-for-4 day jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back as the Saints advanced to the Championship Game with their 5th consecutive win overall with a 6-2 victory.
The Saints offense didn’t take long to get started as Miller doubled in Chase Feller to give the Saints the early lead. The Saints took advantage of control issues by Velva starter Drew Effertz with Cal Fougner being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded scoring Miller and making it 2-0. Valley City would tack on single runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. In the 2nd, Grady Karges would drive in Aaron Schuster on a ground ball that went through the first baseman’s legs. In the 3rd, Seth Soderholm singled while A.J. Casario scored when the second baseman didn’t see Casario stopped at third and air mailed the catcher.
Velva’s offense began to spark in the top of the 6th as Brad Dean led off the inning with a triple. Isaac Effertz then hit a dribbler for an infield single and when Soderholm went to pick the ball up, the ball went under his glove and Dean scored from 3rd on the miscue. Engebretson was pulled after hitting the next batter and was congratulated by several of the Velva players as he walked off the mound. Feller relieved Engebretson and proceeded to hit the next two batters with the second one drawing in a run. But Feller would regroup with the tying run in scoring position as he struck out the next three batters.
The Saints would get those two runs back in the bottom half of the inning with a one out Karges single, followed by Feller being hit with two out. Miller then would collect his fourth hit of the game as he laced a triple into the right center field gap scoring both Karges and Feller. Feller would shut Velva down to collect his second save of the season.
Engebretson picked up his second win of the season as he only gave up two runs on five hits while walking none and striking out seven. Miller’s four hits would be half the Saints total for the game as Feller, Soderholm, Fougner, and Karges had the other four hits.
The Saints were supposed to have a highly anticipated matchup against the Dilworth Raildogs in the Championship Game on Sunday afternoon, but Mother Nature decided to interfere with those plans with that game being postponed to sometime in July.