On the brink of a seventh straight loss, the Minot Vistas needed a key play to loosen up against Bismarck on Thursday.
Considering his walkout song - 'Shake Ya Tailfeather' by Nelly - it was fitting that second baseman Marcus Quist was the catalyst in Minot's 5-4 win in the first game of an American Legion doubleheader split at Corbett Field.
Each time Quist walks to the plate the song blares,"We do it for fun," over the public address system. At that point, Quist appeared to be the only one enjoying himself.
"Nothing to be nervous about 'cause it's just another baseball game and you just gotta go up there and be relaxed and let things work out," Quist said. "It was a huge monkey off our back. Just going down to Omaha, playing some pretty good teams and coming back here and getting that 'W' is a big win for us."
The Vistas (9-9) reverted to the same problems that have plagued them recently and fell 17-9 in game two. The team made five errors and left 13 runners on base in the loss.
Fortunately for Minot, Quist helped break the monotony in game one, tying Bismarck twice with 2-RBI hits in consecutive innings. The second instance was a single with two outs in the sixth inning. The Governors threw home for outs in the previous two at-bats, but Quist proved the charm. Brock Krueger followed with the game-winning hit, an RBI single to score Caleb Fornshell.
"I was just more relaxed," said Quist, who finished just 1-for-5 in Tuesday's loss to Mandan. "The past game I was pressing a little bit, so I just went up there and do what I usually do. I just relax and hit the ball up the middle and opposite field. It just felt nice."
Minot pitcher Hunter Oothoudt pitched 5 2/3 innings and kept the Vistas in the game. Shawn Danielson replaced Oothoudt after he gave up two runs in the sixth and the set-up reliever earned his first win despite facing just one batter. Danielson struck out Tyler Clairmont to end the sixth. Minot took the lead in the bottom half and Casey Ryan earned the save.
"That's kind of gonna be (Shawn's) role," Vistas assistant coach Andy Lach said. "He's gonna come out of the bullpen. He's still trying to adjust to that. He struggled with the strike zone a little bit (Tuesday), but tonight against the one hitter he faced he did exactly what we needed him to do and closed the door on kind of a rally type inning."
Vistas head coach Todd Larson is recovering from emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder on Monday. Larson is day-to-day.
Bismarck dominated most of game two as Minot started sloppy with two errors in the first inning. The Governors had seven runs through the first two frames and doubled that total in the fourth inning alone. Minot starter Jacob Holmen struggled with control and Bismarck made consistent contact with much of what he put over the plate.
Bismarck finished with six errors in the second game.
"Both teams, I think, usually play better defense, and I think both will as the year goes, but it was kind of one of those nights where we went back-and-forth making mistakes," Bismarck coach Mike Skytland said. "I was happy with the way we hit the ball and we pitched it pretty well too, we just made mistakes behind guys and that just makes it hard when you have to get four outs an inning."
Minot rallied through the final three innings, but an 11-run deficit was too much to overcome.
The Vistas remains at home for a doubleheader against Jamestown at 5:30 p.m. tonight.