The Bismarck 15’s won the biggest game in the team’s history today punching a ticket to represent North Dakota in a national tournament, and they did it in historic fashion.
“All I really said to him was — he came out for the 7th, he was on the mound and I said, ‘Hey, it’s your game man. It’s all you,'” Bismarck 15’s head coach Skyler Strand said. “He took a look up there and just kind of smiled, and came out and got it done.”
Michael Fagerland got it done for the 15’s on the biggest stage allowing no hits through 7 innings in the Midwest Plains Regional championship. He also finished the game with 11 strikeouts.
“Honestly not until that last inning. I got on the mound and I was like, ‘Holy crap I can get this no hitter here.’ But I tried to wash it out and just throw strikes,” starting pitcher Michael Fagerland explained.
The only thing on the 15’s mind was the road ahead. Their historic 5-0 shutout gives them a spot in the World Series in Eagle Pass, Texas next week. But it wasn’t just Fagerland thinking about the sweet taste of a title.
“Coaches have been preaching shoot strikes down in the zone,” Fagerland said. “Let your defense help you. So I just tried to put it in the zone as much as I could and made them put it in play, and with those strikeouts just throwing hard, just throwing it past them, it felt good.”
The 15’s offense got it done too. Jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and never looking back. But it was the timing of those runs that was so special.
“We had a long talk, you know, innings not over if the lead off guy gets out,” Strand said. “You know, we’ve done it a lot this season with a two out rally, and that’s how the majority of our runs came today on two out hitting and it was awesome to see how they never died.”
Bismarck’s dream lives on. Now, the focus turns to a bigger championship, and there’s no time to waste.
“I mean we’ve already got a meeting tonight to figure out all the details, but you know we’re back at practice tomorrow,” Strand said. “You know, jobs not done. These boys are hungry and we’ll see how far we can go.”
The Bismarck 15’s will head to Texas August 11-18 for the world series