Pioneers win three of four

Compacting a two-day, four-game series into a one-day, three-game set, the Northland Community and Technical College baseball team went 2-1 in a Friday match-up against the Presentation College junior varsity in Aberdeen, S.D.
The Pioneers took the first two games of the unusual tripleheader 5-3 and 9-3 before losing the nightcap 10-7.
“We saw bad weather coming for Saturday, so instead of playing two and losing two to the weather, we decided to play three on Friday,” explained Northland coach Barry Dowers. 
Game 1, pointed out Dower, was played under nice conditions with temperatures in the low 50s. It was in the 40s and chilly for Game 2. By the third contest is was cold and windy with the temp dropping to 32. 
The results put the Pioneers at 4-5. It was their first outing since a March 4-7 trip to Arkansas and Texas.
Presentation College is an NAIA school – a member of the North Star Athletic Association that also includes Jamestown, Valley City, Mayville, Dickinson (N.D.); Dakota State (S.D.); Viterbo (Wis.); Waldorf (Iowa); Bellevue (Neb.); and Winnipeg (Canada).
The Presentation games began with a come-from-behind effort by Northland. Trailing 3-1, the Pioneers scored four times in the top of the seventh for the 5-3 win.
Northland’s Game 1 offense featured two hits apiece by three sophomores from San Antonio, Texas: Logan Felch, Dom De La Cruz and Josh Arriaga.
Matt Howell, a freshman from Greenbush, was the winner in relief of starter Owen Ellefson, a sophomore from Argyle, who pitched the first five innings. 
Game 2 found Northland turning a 1-0 second inning edge into a 3-0 fifth inning difference that ballooned to 8-0 in the next frame.
Josh Davila, a sophomore from Lytle, Texas, and Landon Sanders, a freshman from Thief River Falls, both had two hits for the Pioneers, who got six innings of work out of winning pitcher Gabe Cavasos, a sophomore from San Antonio.
Northland kept the momentum going with a five-inning top of the first inning in the third game, but couldn’t hold off the Saints. Presentation promptly answered with three runs in the bottom of the first and completed the comeback with a four-run fifth.
Jered Rushing, a freshman from San Antonio, pitched the first three innings for the Pioneers. The loss went to Peyton Mills, a freshman from Stephen. The Pioneers were out-hit 15-4.
“We have faced some of the struggles we expect to face with so many new people at so many positions,” reported Dowers.
Work on the mound has been one of the bright spots, according to Dowers. “Overall, I have been very happy with our pitching,” he said. “Gabe Cavasos is our rock and has been solid every time out. Owen Ellefson has shown huge strides in his pitching. We knew it was in him, but his maturity as a person and baseball player is the key. Brandon Harrell has stepped up and filled a late-inning role and Matt Howell has not allowed a run over his last three outings. We have others who are still trying to get sharp, but I expect us to be very deep on the mound as the season progresses.”
Elsewhere the Pioneers haven’t been as consistent, admitted Dowers, who said, “offensively and defensively we are seeing some ups and downs that early-season baseball brings out. We have seen some good performances on both sides at times, but have lacked a consistency that only more playing time will bring out.”
Northland scheduled road doubleheaders against the University of Minnesota Crookston junior varsity Tuesday, March 29, and Thursday, April 7.
The Pioneers will play a Saturday, April 9, doubleheader at Minnesota State-Fergus Falls before making their home debut the next day with a 1 p.m. twinbill rematch against the Spartans.
Northland’s Minnesota College Athletic Conference Northern Division opener is April 20, at home vs. Itasca.
Game 1
                                                r   h  e
Northland ………..000 001 4  5  7  2
Presentation……100 020 0   –  3  7  3
Pitching – (Northland) Owen Ellefson 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 7 strike-outs; Matt Howell-W, 1 IP, 1 walk, 1 strike-out; Brandon Harrell-S, 1 IP, 2 strike-outs.
Offensive highlights – (Northland) Dom Del La Cruz 2/3, 2 RBI; Josh Arriaga 2/3, double; Logan Felch 2/4, RBI; Josh Davila 1/4.
Game 2
                                                r   h  e
Northland ………..010 025 1  9  9  0
Presentation……000 003 0   –  3  6  1
Pitching – (Northland) Gabe Cavasos-W, 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 7 strike-outs; Matt Howell 1 IP, 3 walks, 1 strike-out.
Offensive highlights – (Northland) Josh Davila 2/3, 3 RBI; Landon Sanders 2/3, RBI; Josh Arriaga 1/3, RBI; Gunnar Olson 1/3, RBI; Brandon Harrell 1/3; Logan Felch 1/4, double, RBI; Nick Vig 1/4; Gilbert Rodriguez 2 RBI.
Game 3
                                                r   h  e
Northland ………510 100 0  –   7   4  3
Presentation….310 240 x   – 10  15  2
Pitching – (Northland) Jered Rushing 3 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 1 strike-out; Peyton Mills-L, 1 1/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs,; Logan Felch 1 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strike-outs.
Offensive highlights – (Northland) Gunnar Olson 1/2; Gilbert Rodriguez 1/3; Logan Felch 1/3, 3 RBI; Owen Ellefson 1/3, RBI; Dom La Cruz RBI; Joey Koenig RBI.