Heading into the bottom of the second inning on Friday, Garrison was in great shape, leading the junior-level Bismarck Representatives 3-0 at Jack Hoeven Park.
Those three runs were all the Titans could manage. The Reps scored ... more. A lot more.
In a sudden wave of offensive production, the Junior Legion outfit blitzed Garrison for seven runs in the second and eight in the third on its way to a 15-3 victory in five innings during the Minot Qdoba's Baseball tournament.
It took an inning for them to heat up, but the Bismarck Representatives made short work of Garrison’s pitching staff Friday at Jack Hoeven Park. Bismarck notched 15 runs on 14 hits, five of which went for extra bases.
The Titans had an opportunity to respond, but the bats never sparked. They managed two hits over the final three innings with just one runner advancing as far as second base.
"That's our biggest thing: we score runs and then it basically dies out. The switch gets flipped and we just can't do anything and our defense falls apart," Garrison coach Olsen Zerr said. "That's when teams like the Bismarck Reps - a good team - jump on us right away."
After going down 1-2-3 in the first, the chances of a 15-run onslaught seemed slim for the Reps.
"I think throughout the season we've been a fairly slow-starting team," Bismarck coach Eddie Streeter said. "I think sometimes it just takes these guys a minute to get dialed in."
It all started with a leadoff walk from Matt Fettig in the second, who then advanced to third after a two-base error by Garrison first baseman Alex Bendickson on a pickoff attempt. Fettig later scored on an Alex Homer single.
Then the floodgates opened. Three of Bismarck's next five hits went for extra bases, including a two-run triple from Mason Fade.
Of the 14 hits Bismarck registered Friday, five went for extra bases, three of which were triples.
"Once we settled down we started swinging at better pitches, finally got on time with the starter's fastball and took advantage of the strikes he gave us," Streeter said.
It didn't get any easier for Garrison in the third.
The Reps started the inning with their first six batters reaching base safely, a stretch that saw the Titans concede one walk, three singles and two triples en route to an additional six Bismarck runs.
"You've gotta be prepared, gotta be ready to go no matter what," Zerr said. "When this sort of thing happens, you've just gotta clear your mind out, and that's what I'm hoping we can do."
Being a Junior-Legion team in a tournament featuring several varsity groups, the Reps are in a good position.
Their 15-run total was higher than that of any other team Friday.
"When we go into these tournaments, our key thing is to try and get better, try to work hard, try to compete against some good talent and just see where that takes us," Streeter said. "Our guys are some pretty good hitters. When they start doing things right and they start doing the things that put them in a position to be successful, then they do pretty well."
The Reps play two games today, both of which are at Jack Hoeven Park. They'll get Surrey in the early game at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 5 p.m. tilt with Watford City.
Garrison looks to rebound at 9:30 this morning at Corbett Field against the Mandan A's.
Joe Mellenbruch covers legion baseball and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.