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Anderson throws near no-hitter, Riders sweep Blue Devils

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Roughriders pitcher Cole Anderson throws a pitch during game two of a doubleheader against Glendive (Mont.) on Sunday at Astoria Field and Southside Municipal Ballpark.

On Saturday, Dickinson’s Cole Anderson couldn’t grip the ball because of a broken right-ring finger.

Less than 24 hours later, Anderson threw a one-hitter during the second game of a doubleheader.

The Dickinson Roughriders American Legion baseball team swept Glendive (Mont.) 13-2 and 9-0 on Sunday at Southside Municipal Ballpark and Astoria Field.

“Cole did a phenomenal job,” said Dickinson assistant coach Joe Binstock, who was managing the game because head coach Cory Hansen had to attend a funeral on Monday. “He pitched very well. He couldn’t throw very well on Saturday, so I asked him, ‘Are you going to be able to pitch or hit anything?’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, I can play.’ He came out and almost threw a no-hitter.”

Entering the final inning, Anderson knew the no-hitter was still intact.

However, the no-hitter was broken up after Anthony Berg hit a leadoff infield single.

“I kind of wanted it really bad, so I kind of felt some pressure even though we were up,” Anderson said. “I’ll forget about it in the morning.”

Anderson broke his right-ring finger diving back into first base on a pickoff attempt against West Fargo.

Instead of being able to throw all three pitches — fastball, curveball and changeup — Anderson had to rely on two, because he couldn’t fully grip the ball.

The pitch he had to leave out was the changeup.

“I was pretty much just throwing my fastball and curveball,” Anderson said. “I couldn’t throw my changeup, because my finger is broken. I couldn’t use my ring finger, so I couldn’t really throw my changeup for any strikes. I just relied on my fastball and curveball. They were finding the zone and they were swinging and missing.”

Dickinson’s bats didn’t let Anderson down. The Roughriders (5-1) scored at least one run in five of the six innings at the plate. Luke Herauf opened the second game with a solo home run to right field to start the second inning. Herauf also posted a two-run double in the fourth.

Tanner Hopfauf led the charge for the Roughriders in the opening game with three extra-base hits. He finished the doubleheader with five extra-base hits.

“I was seeing the ball well and as a DH that’s what you have to do,” he said. “I’m just doing my job. I want to hit the ball as much as I can. When I get into the box, I’m looking to hit. If it is there right away, I’m going to jump on it.”

In the opener, the Roughrider designated hitter went 3 for 3 with two triples, one double, five RBI and scored two runs.

During the second game, Hopfauf only had two plate appearances. His first was RBI double and his second ended in a walk. However, during his final at bat, he nearly ripped a home run over left-field fence, but went left of the foul pole.

“I wish that last one would have stayed fair,” he said with a smile.

Anderson is pleased with how the team is playing in the early part of the season.

In the first six games of the season, the Roughriders have outscored their opponents 73-30. Dickinson opened the season with a sweep of Fargo Post 400 on Friday and split with West Fargo on Saturday.

“We are all hitting the ball real well,” Anderson said. “We are playing great defense, pitching well and everyone is in midseason form.”

The Roughriders continue their busy June, which consists of a total of 27 games, by traveling to Williston at 4:30 p.m. today.