COLUMN: A few tidbits about the state tourneyAn unbelievable tournament by the Dickinson Roughriders paved way to yet another Legion state championship.
By: Chris Aarhus, The Dickinson Press
An unbelievable tournament by the Dickinson Roughriders paved way to yet another Legion state championship.
Here are a few tourney tidbits that came to mind during and after Dickinson’s dominating performances.
- Is there a better two-strike hitter in the state than Stephen Laylock? I don’t think so. Because of his ability to hit with two strikes, he’s become a perfect hitter to execute a hit-and-run with Seiler on first. It happened again in the second inning of the state-title game when Seiler was hit by a pitch and Laylock punched a double to right field, sending Seiler to third. Frenzel walked and Herauf singled in the front two runners. Business as usual.
- Fargo coach Jeff Fiechtner was clearly frustrated with Eric Seiler, who finished the state tournament just 4-for-21 while battling a cold. In two games against Fargo, Seiler scored five runs. While I can’t repeat Fiechtner’s words as they weren’t on the record, I can tell you that he was wasn’t happy with his team’s inability to get Seiler out. Dickinson scored at least three runs in four of the five innings that Seiler scored. That ought to tell you how important his presence is. I can even recall one particular moment when Fiechtner seemed confident they could get Seiler out after recording the first out of the inning on a Kyle Breen fly out. Seiler followed with a home run.
- Maybe there’s some thinking out there that Dickinson is just going to the Central Plains Regional as an added bonus to winning a state championship. I don’t believe that. They had their added bonus last year, winning a game and making it to the third day. Something tells me that Stephen Laylock, Cole Frenzel, Ben Herauf, Tyler Steffan and Michael Steve are taking this tournament personally with the watch on their Legion careers winding down.
- Dickinson had 13 errors in five games at state. That doesn’t sound too good, does it? Well, 11 of those came in the Riders’ two games against Fargo including six in the title game. At this point, I don’t think it’s a huge problem. However, the Riders have shown that if they have more than one in a game, they’re open to having as many as five or six. They have to do a better job of stopping the bleeding.
- There was a rather funny incident against Mandan on Friday when Cole Frenzel came up to bat. Mandan’s fans wanted to make sure that Frenzel wasn’t standing too close to the plate as it’s become well known that Frenzel likes to crowd the plate. After a few pitches went by with Mandan’s fans continuing their chatter, Frenzel drove a foul ball right into the heart of their crowd. Apparently, Mandan thought it was as funny as I did because plenty of laughter broke out. Just a coincidence? Maybe.
- After spending some thought on it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t think of an instance where catcher Michael Steve has ever given less than 110 percent. Though the Riders occasionally win with some flashy home runs, Dickinson is still a blue-collar team with its No. 1 example — Steve — leading the way.
(Chris Aarhus is a sports writer for The Dickinson Press. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)