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Northwoods League umpires. Howie / Duluth Times

By Jordy Fee-Platt

On Sunday afternoon, a late comeback effort for the Huskies came up short, as the Bismarck Larks took the opening game of the series 10-6.

Duluth was able to score three runs in the bottom of the ninth, and had the bases loaded with the tying run at the plate. However, pinch-hitter Tyler Leroy lined out to second to end the game.

The Huskies were hurt tremendously by their inability to convert with runners in scoring position. There were a ton of hard-hit balls in crucial situations that just didn’t seem to find holes. Duluth hit into six double plays, halting rallies that could have brought them back into the game.

In the bottom of the third trailing 5-0, the Huskies loaded up the bases with one out, but Lucas Kelly grounded into an inning-ending double play. This was one of many occasions where the break just didn’t go the Huskies’ way.

Duluth left 11 runners on base in total, which put them in a big hole. The Larks made things tougher with their powerful bats against the Huskies’ pitching staff.

In a ballpark notorious for being a pitcher’s best friend, Bismarck had three home runs this afternoon. Brayden Koenig launched a three-run shot to right in the eighth, which gave the visitors a 10-3 lead in the eighth.

Those insurance runs proved crucial, as the Huskies had a furious rally in their final chance at bat. The Huskies had six batters reach base in the frame, which fired up the Wade Stadium crowd.

For a moment, a miraculous comeback appeared possible. With the score 10-5, a dropped pop-up in foul ground by Larks first baseman Evan Ames allowed the game to continue, and for Ethan Cole to reach base.

It was then up to Tyler Leroy, who pinch-hit with the bases loaded and the score 10-6. Leroy had a long battle with Larks reliever Frank Wierman, but a hard line drive in a 3-2 count was caught at second base to end the game.

The Huskies will look to rebound tomorrow against the Larks at 12:05. You can catch the game on ESPN+.