Making strides on the right pathThe philosophy in football is that defense wins championships.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The philosophy in football is that defense wins championships.
The same can be said for American Legion baseball and the Dickinson Roughriders’ pitching and defense has been the growth spurt during the early goings of this season.
“We’re slowly progressing into a more pitching and defensive-mentality team,” Dickinson head coach Cory Hansen said. “We are just working on getting those timely hits with runners in scoring position.”
However, if the offense is struggling to put runs together, then the team is going find themselves on the losing side of the scoreboard. The Roughriders’ bats are moving in the right direction though.
“We’ve been putting good games together,” Dickinson pitcher-outfielder Korey Kallenbach said. “We just haven’t been able to quite win them. Now I think coming back at home, we’ll come to play and do pretty well, I hope.”
The Roughriders have a 5-11 overall record, but are looking to change their fortunes against the Grand Forks Royals in a doubleheader that starts at 5 p.m. today and counts toward the statewide standings. Dickinson hasn’t played at home since a June 8 doubleheader against Jamestown.
As a team, it can be tough to end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard after a solid performance. Hansen said he’s keep the players’ spirits high at practice and during games.
“We just keep hammering drills and hard work,” Hansen said. “We try to stay positive as much as possible. We make things a little fun, so they stay interested. They’ve done pretty much everything I’ve asked them to.”
The Roughriders have a majority of the players back after some attended football camps or battled injuries. Two players that started the season with injuries, Sean Kelly and Brett Braunagel, are both back in practice.
“Now that we are getting everybody back, we are hoping to get a little comradarie and understanding of how we play the game,” Hansen said.
“We’ve been out with Brett and Sean and we’ve been missing those two,” Dickinson pitcher-outfielder Alex Huschka said. “I think once everybody is back and we’re all healthy, we’ll able to pick up on offense too and things will start clicking.”
Pitching was a strong suit during the Dickinson Midgets high school season and Kallenbach said with the switch over to the new BBCOR (Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution) bats has been an easy change.
“The BBCOR bats aren’t that different than wood bats. It’s pretty much the exact same thing,” Kallenbach said. “It was a really easy transition.”
It’s never too late to turn a corner in Legion baseball. The Roughriders are looking to gain some momentum at home and carry it through to the latter half of the season.
“Honestly, the season record doesn’t matter,” Huschka said. “It’s the outcome by the end of the season.”
The momentum surge might have shown already in Dickinson’s recent trip to the Battle of Omaha Tournament late last week, where it picked up a big win over Chaparrel, Colo.
“It just shows that we can definitely play with anyone,” Kallenbach said. “Even against the Louisiana team, they were really good hitters and we kept in it.”