Duluth Knocks off Bismarck to Finish Regular Season
The Duluth Huskies closed out the regular season with a convincing 11-7 win over the Bismarck Larks on Sunday afternoon. Due to other results, the Huskies will remain in Bismarck for Monday's playoff game.
The playoff game will be the first for Duluth (47-25, 23-13) since 2015 and will be the first in franchise history for the Bismarck Larks (37-34, 12-23).
Early on in Sunday's contest, Duluth fell behind as the Larks scored in the second inning on an error. Fortunately for the Huskies, the Bismarck lead did not last for long.
In the third, Duluth batted around and scored six runs to take a commanding lead. The first run came across on an RBI single by Sean Watkins (Cal State Los Angeles) that also brought in another Huskies base runner on an error.
The inning was highlighted by a three-run homerun by Christian Jones (Washington), his fourth of the year, that made it 6-1.
On the mound, Duluth looked to Zack LeBlanc (Fisher College) to get his first start of the season. He was able to throw five innings, allowing two runs on five hits while fanning two opposing hitters on his way to being the winning pitcher.
The second run for the Larks came across in the fifth on an RBI single by Jeff Mayes (Aurora University). By then, however, the deficit was increased for the Larks thanks to a solo homerun by Reed Hjelle (Minnesota-Crookston). Duluth carried their 7-2 lead to the seventh when they looked to blow the game open.
In the inning, Duluth scored two more runs on a two-RBI single by Hjelle that brought in Braydon Hanson (St. Scholastica) and Augie Isaacson (Friends University).
In the eighth, the Huskies put the game out of reach, scoring two runs on an RBI single by Hanson and an RBI sacrifice fly by Nick Sogard (Loyola Marymount).
Braydon Hanson, making his Huskies debut, finished 2-3 with two runs scored and an RBI in his Duluth debut. Due to Northwoods League rules, he, along with starting pitcher Zack LeBlanc, will be ineligible to compete in the playoffs.
Bismarck batted around and scored five runs in the eighth inning, but the game was already well out of reach as the Huskies coasted to an 11-7 victory, closing out the regular season on a positive note.
The Huskies will play Bismarck for the final time in 2018 tomorrow in Bismarck at 7:05 p.m. The winner moves on to the North Division championship game, while the losers' season is over.
The other playoff game is between Willmar and Mankato and will be hosted by the Willmar Stingers. If both Duluth and Willmar win tomorrow, the Huskies will be on the road on Tuesday night. If Duluth and Mankato win tomorrow, the Huskies will host the Moondogs on Tuesday night at Wade Stadium.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow night for Duluth's first playoff game since 2015 on 92.1 The Fan. Pregame show starts at 6:55 p.m. with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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