Valley City Babe Ruth player Jacob Miller showed plenty of tenacity in Monday’s double header split with Oakes.
As his team played the first game, a 4-2 loss, he donned the catcher’s gear and took his spot behind the plate for all seven innings in 90 degree weather.
He followed it by switching battery positions for game two, where he pitched all four innings and scored two runs in a 5-1 win.
In both instances, coach Lance Lukes was pleased as the team readies for the District 6 tournament later this month in Steele.
“Jacob’s a good catcher,” Lukes said. “His head’s in the game. He’s trying to help out teammates and get them in position.”
Though the team played well, both games ended up being close and were decided by little things.
In the first game, Valley City had a strong first inning, but then struggled offensively as the game went on.
Leadoff hitter Dalton Ondracek started the game with a walk, then stole a base and later scored on a fielder’s choice by Jesse Johnson. It was the only scoring the team got until the seventh inning.
The rest of the way, Valley City was stymied by Oakes’ starting pitcher, who was unfazed by the team’s sporadic hits.
Instead, he used the corners of the plate to his advantage and finished with 13 strikeouts, including five in a row to end the fourth and go all the way through the fifth.
“Right away he started off with walks, then he got into a really good rhythm where he threw a pretty hard fastball and a really good slider,” Miller said. “That got a lot of kids.”
Valley City pitcher Nate Rodriguez put up good numbers, allowing seven hits and striking out nine. The issue, Lukes felt, were some of the smaller opportunities his team could have capitalized on.
There were multiple fielder’s choice plays that could have ended innings but instead allowed a runner to reach that later scored.
Valley City scored one more run in the seventh.
Oakes started the second game with a bang, hitting a triple to deep right field. The runner later scored Oakes’ only run of the game.
Valley City responded with a run by Miller in the bottom of the first, Ben Baasch then scored one in the second.
The team made one last scoring run in the third when Miller, Rodriguez and Johnson all reached and later scored.
On the mound, Miller allowed two hits in four innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
The team continues its season at home Thursday against LaMoure. The double header starts at 5 p.m.