Based on the pace of the first few innings, it seemed as if Millard West (Neb.) and Wayzata (Minn.) were going for some sort of record.
The first five innings took an hour, with Millard West starting pitcher Easton Young seeing just three more than the minimum through the same time frame. The left-hander went on to throw a complete game, which lasted about 85 minutes, while striking out seven.
Wayzata Post 118 starter, righty Matthew Bohlke, also went the distance. He struck out three while walking two.
Young and the Wildcats rose to the top, defeating Wayzata 1-0 in game one of the Central Plains Regional Tournament on Wednesday, Aug. 8, at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
"(Young) had a great spring for us, which kind of led into the summer," Wildcats head coach Steven Frey said. "He's actually our career ERA leader at Millard West. He's used to going those deep games. He just did a good job of keeping them off balance and not walking anybody. He did a very good job up there."
His counterpart, Bohlke, is also used to manning the mound for full outings.
"All year long, he's pitched complete games, kept the hits down, but unfortunately we don't hit when he's on the mound, which is weird," Wayzata head coach Maris Blanchard said. "You got a pitcher like that who continues to throw strike after strike after strike to get us back to the dugout, usually a team will jump on the offensive side, but today it just didn't happen."
Wayzata, the Minnesota state runner-up, put ball to barrel just twice against Young, with Delaney Dahl and Nick Kaye collecting the only hits.
While Millard West, the Nebraska state runner-up, had a base runner in each inning, Wayzata didn't allow them to score until the sixth.
Paul Hinton hit his second single of the day after leadoff batter Brendan Tauber was put out. Max Anderson stepped up next. On a wild pitch, Hinton moved into scoring position and Anderson sent him home with an RBI single.
"I knew he was trying to attack me with some off-speed pitches," Anderson recalled. "But, I just had to try to get the run in and not try to do too much. I really wanted to get a fly ball, but a ground ball worked."
Hinton and Anderson each had two hits for Post 374, while Tyler Bandiera and Tristan Gomes each had one.
Defense played a huge role in the fast-paced game, as Millard West turned two double plays and Wayzata turned one.
The most unusual two-out play came in the bottom of the second. Kaye was on first for Wayzata and Keegan Nickel bunted, pushing Kaye to second. After Nickel was thrown out at first, the Millard West infield got another out at second, catching Kaye past the bag.
In the top of the inning, Wayzata turned a clean double play to end the inning.
"We aren't a team that turns a whole lot of double plays," Blanchard said. "When we turn a double play it's a weird one, with someone trying to advance or a come back right to the pitcher ... We had a couple big double plays for either team that really swung the momentum in that team's direction."
Millard West will face West Fargo at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, while Wayzata will compete with Tri-City Red (Minn.) at 11 a.m. in a loser-out contest.
Millard West (Neb.) 1, Wayzata (Minn.) 0
MW 000 001 0 — 1 6 1
W 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Easton Young and Jackson Meyer. Matthew Bohlke and Thomas Grochala.
W—Young. L—Bohlke. HR—None.
Highlights: W, Delaney Dahl 1-3; Nick Kaye 1-2; Bohlke 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K. Max Anderson 2-3, 1 RBI; Paul Hinton 2-3, 1 R; Tyler Bandiera 1-3; Tristan Gomes 1-2; Young 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K.