Riders ready after brief breakConfidence. Check.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Ready to start playing again. Oh yeah.
The Dickinson Roughriders American Legion baseball team had a week off to rest in preparation to play the second half of their season starting by traveling to the Minot Vistas at 3 p.m. today at Hoeven Field.
“We’ve got all of our arms back,” Dickinson assistant coach Andy Tomanek said. “I know we were hurting for arms there for a while. It seems like everyone was getting sore. The kids are excited to play ball again.”
The doubleheader was previously scheduled for 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., but Corbett Field is no longer in use this season.
Dickinson gained some important confidence heading into the weeklong Fourth of July break by winning the Harry Griffith Wood Bat Classic on July 1 in Miles City, Mont.
“We didn’t start off on the right foot and we’ve got progressively better throughout the season,” Dickinson infielder/pitcher Sean Kelly said. “Hopefully we can keep playing at this high level right out of this break.”
The Roughriders have had an up and down season, but with the break Kelly said everyone is recuperated from the regular-season grind.
“We got some time off, because before that we played eight games in six days,” he said. “We were pretty sore and tired. It was nice just to get some time to get away from baseball and relax.”
Kelly, who was hurt at the beginning of the season, took his first start on the mound against Bismarck on July 3. He said it was tough not being out on the field, but he wanted to be the strong voice in the dugout.
“It was so hard, especially when we were struggling knowing that I couldn’t do anything about it,” Kelly said. “Now that I can get back out on the field, it feels so much better. It’s great to be back.”
The Roughriders’ motto the whole season has been to fight until the end. That motto paid off in two of the five games at the Harry Griffith Wood Bat Classic.
Dickinson won on a Luke Herauf walk-off home run and followed up the next day with a bases loaded walk.
“It just proves that we can pull it off in the end,” Tomanek said. “A lot of the time were going down until the end and we losing more than we want to, but it proves that we can do it. We just have to clean up a couple things maybe we’ll give ourselves more leads in the end.”
The pitching hasn’t been too shabby either. The Roughriders’ pitchers have kept the team in games, while the bats are finally coming around with that key hit.
“We’re real happy with where our pitching and defensive is getting,” Tomanek said. “With fresh arms, everyone is ready to come back. It’s big to just throw strikes and if they can throw all their pitches for strikes, it makes them that much better.”
Herauf said the sudden offensive spark didn’t come right away, because the team needed to mesh together.
“It just took more time,” Herauf said. “We all had to get used to each other.”
The momentum has started to build in the final month before the Legion A state tournament in Mandan from July 31 to August 5.
“Hopefully, we get some momentum going right away here and just keep getting better going into the end of the year,” Tomanek said.