VALLEY CITY, ND (NewsDakota.com) – There were plenty of firsts this past weekend as the Valley City Saints hosted the inaugural Valley Baseball Classic eight-team rally at Charlie Brown Memorial Field. The Saints won both games, beating 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 of the players, fans, coaches, officials and volunteers for making sure this weekend goes smoothly.
Friday – Valley City 4, Cass County 1 (Game 1)
The first-ever Rally in the Valley Classic game came on Friday night as the Valley City Saints defeated Cass County Catfish 4-1
After both pitchers got 1-2-3 innings in the 1st, the Catfish struck first early in the 2nd inning on a Mitch Scheer brace against Saints starter Evin Casey. Scheer scored on a simple bloop from Brennen Neva who narrowly missed the outstretched glove of first baseman Jake Miller. Casey would face two more hitters before being relieved by Reed Butz with runners in 2nd and 3rd and one out. Butz would hit the next two hitters and come out of the jam.
The Saints would finally get Catfish starter Tyler Kliniske at the end of the 3rd. With goals from Cal Fougner and Andrew Schaan, Chase Feller hit a brace in the gap from left center field that scored both Fougner and Gavin Wright, who ran for wide receiver Schaan, giving the Saints the lead qu ‘they would never give up.
The Saints would add some insurance at the end of the 5th with two unearned runs against reliever Aaron Stemen. Seth Soderholm would make it 3-1 on an RBI Feller double score while Jake Miller was sent off at home plate. Will Hough would make it 4-1 on a single RBI Soderholm score.
Butz would secure the win for the Saints with 5.2 innings of relief allowing just a single hit and a walk while striking out eleven Catfish hitters while Fougner led the Saints’ offense with a 2-for-2 day. Kliniske suffered loss for the Catfish with three innings and two runs on a single hit while striking out six. Neva had two of Catfish’s three 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 if the Saints were playing Velva he wanted the start as more of the players on Velva’s roster. with whom he played in high school and Legion ball. Engebretson didn’t disappoint against his hometown team as he stopped them in five-plus innings as Jake Miller’s 4-for-4 offensive lead took a 4-0 lead. and never looked back as the Saints advanced to Match with their 5th consecutive win overall with a 6-2 win.
The Saints offense was quick to kick in as Miller passed Chase Feller to give the Saints the lead early on. The Saints took advantage of control problems from Velva starter Drew Effertz with Cal Fougner hit by a pitch loaded with bases loaded scoring Miller and making it 2-0. Valley City would transfer single runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. In the second, Grady Karges would lead Aaron Schuster on a ball that went through the legs of the first baseman. In the third, Seth Soderholm scored a single while AJ Casario scored when the second baseman failed to see Casario stop at the third and sent a letter to the receiver.
Velva’s offense started to erupt early in the 6th as Brad Dean started the round with a triple. Isaac Effertz then hit a dribbler for a single in the infield and when Soderholm fetched the ball the ball went under his glove and Dean scored 3rd on the foul. Engebretson was put out after hitting the next batter and was praised by several of Velva’s players as he left the mound. Feller relieved Engebretson and proceeded to hit the next two hitters with the second shot in a run. But Feller regrouped with the tying point in scoring position as he struck out the next three batters.
The Saints recovered those two runs in the lower half of the inning with a single from Karges with one out, followed by Feller with two outs. Miller went on to collect his fourth hit of the game as he scored a triple spread across right center field, scoring both Karges and Feller. Feller would shut down Velva to recover his second stoppage of the season.
Engebretson earned his second win of the season as he allowed just two runs on five hits while walking none and striking out seven. Miller’s four hits would be half of the Saints’ total for the game as Feller, Soderholm, Fougner and Karges had the other four hits.
The Saints were supposed to have a much-anticipated clash against the Dilworth Raildogs in the Championship game on Sunday afternoon, but Mother Nature has decided to interfere with those plans with the postponement of that game to July.