MINOT — Things started out promising for the Williston Coyotes in the quarterfinals at the North Dakota Class A State Baseball Tournament, in Minot. Unfortunately for Williston fans, it unraveled in the seventh inning as the Fargo Shanley Deacons came back to defeat the Coyotes 4-3, at Corbett Field on May 30.
Playing as the home team, Williston got a run across in the bottom of the first as Christopher Sathe drew a bases loaded walk with two men down. The Deacons answered back with a run of their own in the top of the second, but in the bottom of the second, the Coyotes were able to regain the lead with a pair of runs.
Brady Aberle got the two-out rally started with a ringing double to left field, and Garret Hill tripled in the following at bat to drive in a run. After Hill, Brady Doeden worked a walk to give Williston runners on the corners.
Once aboard, Doeden attempted to steal second base and drew a throw over to first base from Shanley pitcher Brayden Koenig. Reading the situation, Hill decided to bolt for home, and his gamble paid off as made it across the plate safely, giving the Coyotes a 3-1 edge.
The score would remain 3-1 in favor of Williston until the seventh, thanks in large part to stellar defensive work by the Coyotes infield, as well as the efforts of starting pitcher Zach Carson, who went five innings, and allowed just one earned run and five hits. Williston reliever Charlie Whitlock also contributed by pitching a perfect sixth inning.
In the top of the seventh, the Deacons registered a leadoff single, but Williston responded with a quick double play and appeared to be in the driver’s seat. From that point, Shanley rallied for three runs, with the decisive blow being a two-run single up the middle by Koenig.
The Coyotes had an opportunity to make amends in the bottom of the seventh as Denver Sheets, who worked a one-out walk, represented the tying run. However, Sheets was left stranded at first as Williston was unable to muster a late rally, ending their hopes of capturing a state title.
By virtue of the loss, Williston’s 21-game winning streak comes to an end, and the highest possible placing they can achieve at state will be fifth. They will move on to the consolation bracket and take on Fargo North on May 31, at 11 a.m.