Only Velva-Drake-Anamoose boasted an undefeated Region 6 record entering Thursday. After a doubleheader in Velva, the Aggies' region record remained unblemished.
V-D-A defeated Surrey-Our Redeemer's Christian School 14-7 in the opener in their home park. The game was officially listed as a home game for the Mustangs, but poor field conditions brought the game to Velva.
The win gives V-D-A its seventh region win of the season. Ahead of Saturday's encounter with Bishop Ryan, the Aggies are in pole position for their second consecutive Region 6 regular-season title.
With Velva-Drake-Anamoose senior third baseman Rob Finneseth in
pursuit, Surrey-Our Redeemer’s Christian School freshman infielder
Breyden Lee (3) retreats to the third base after overrunning the bag.
V-D-A senior pitcher Bradley Dean picked up the victory in the opener. Surrey won the nightcap, a non-region game, 11-6.
A win against the Lions will clinch the region for a second straight year.
"We're very confident," V-D-A coach Matt Weidler said. "Our guys just gotta stay focused, not try and do too much at the plate or on the mound. We've got guys that can hit the baseball, and we're just gonna have to continue that over the next two weeks and see what happens."
The Aggies (15-2 overall, 7-0 region) actually trailed Surrey-ORCS 4-1 after the first two innings of Thursday's opener, but a five-run third inning put V-D-A in front for good.
Four of those five runs came from the bat of senior outfielder Drew Effertz, who blasted a home run, the second of his career, over the left-field fence with the bases loaded.
His only other home run, which he hit last season, was also a grand slam.
"In previous at bats, (Surrey pitcher Seth Aberle) pretty much only brought his fastball, so I was sitting dead-red on a fastball," said Effertz, who finished with a game-high six RBIs. "I went up there looking for one over the plate and that's what I got and I put a good swing on it."
While big extra-base hits are always a welcome sight for coaches, small ball has been a particular focus for the Aggies in recent days.
V-D-A attempted several bunts throughout the game, an unfamiliar tactic for the Aggies this season.
Weidler is keen to change that, and Thursday's doubleheader stands as proof.
"We spent probably 45 minutes on bunting (Wednesday). That's about all that we did in practice," Weidler said. "We've struggled getting bunts down, but we've got to get those down. It puts pressure on the defense with the speed we have and the guys we're bunting with.
"When you get in close games come tournament time, you're gonna need to be able to bunt here and there."
V-D-A's small-ball strategy induce four Surrey-ORCS errors during Game 1.
The Mustangs kept themselves in the game until the final two innings, when the Aggies plated seven runs, five of which came in the seventh.
It was only the ninth game Surrey-ORCS has played this season. The regional tournament begins May 16.
"We still haven't played enough baseball," said Surrey-ORCS coach, who has just two seniors at his disposal this spring. "But we're getting there. We're young, we're inexperienced, we're still making some mistakes. We need to be better. Our tournament is coming in a week, and we need to get better in a hurry."
And one of the biggest games of the regional schedule has yet to be played.
With one hand already on the regional tournament's top seed, V-D-A welcomes Ryan for a crucial home contest at noon Saturday.
Weidler plans to approach that game the same as any other.
"Just another game," he said. "Our approach is gonna be the same as it was today or any game we've played the last four weeks. We've had big games with these guys before."
Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.