Scarlets start hitting, don't stop in sweep of Roughriders“Hitting is contagious” is a baseball cliché almost as old as the game itself. The Billings (Mont.) Scarlets showed why Wednesday evening at Southside Municipal Ballpark.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
“Hitting is contagious” is a baseball cliché almost as old as the game itself.
The Billings (Mont.) Scarlets showed why Wednesday evening at Southside Municipal Ballpark.
“Hitting is contagious, especially with this team,” Scarlets head coach Adam Hust said. “If nobody is hitting, they all do the same thing. But once one of them gets a hit, the rest of them follow and it makes it easier. It was exciting to see.”
Billings followed the lead of Colton Welhaven and Myles Berkram as they rallied from a one-run deficit to score nine combined runs in the sixth and seventh innings and defeat the Dickinson Roughriders 10-2 in the first game of an American Legion baseball doubleheader.
Welhaven went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. Berkram went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and was a home run shy of the cycle.
Dickinson led 2-1 until the sixth inning, when the Scarlets mounted a two-out rally to take complete control.
“We were hitting right at them,” Welhaven said. “Toward the end innings they finally got through and once it did, we got rollin’.”
Brayden Wickam and Welhaven had back-to-back run-scoring hits to right-center field — Welhaven’s was a double — to score the tying and go-ahead run and spark the Scarlets’ onslaught.
Berkram added a RBI single off starter James Kary, who was then relieved by Luke Herauf. Kary went to third base with he and Herauf switching spots. Kary then committed a throwing error that allowed a run to score.
“They got a couple of cheap hits,” said Dickinson catcher Brady Dutchak, who was 2-for-2. Nothing our defense can do about it. We had one error.”
Herauf gave up five runs on five hits in the seventh inning as the Scarlets padded their lead. Billings sent the side to the plate in the sixth and had 10 batters in the seventh.
Berkram’s two-run, stand-up triple was the high point of the inning for the Scarlets. Welhaven, Ian Byorth and Nick Funyak all added RBI singles.
“That’s the way hitting is,” said Dickinson assistant coach Andy Tomanek, who was filling in for head coach Cory Hansen. “A lot of times, it just takes that one guy to do it and everyone else can have confidence in them. They just start hitting around the park and their confidence builds off it. It just gets worse and worse.”
Billings right-hander Michael Merchant gave up just six hits — one in the final four innings — in pitching a complete game.
The Roughriders got to him early, going ahead in the first inning on Kary’s sacrifice fly to center that scored Brett Braunagel. Dickinson took its only lead when Alex Huschka’s deep drive brought home a sliding Dutchak in the third.
“I’m glad they didn’t come out scared,” Tomanek said. “They played hard. I was happy about that because you play a Billings team that’s supposed to be pretty good. You see teams come out and roll over and we didn’t. I was happy about that.”
However, Tomanek said Dickinson has been lacking someone dynamic to step up all season, and that showed in the late innings Wednesday.
“We need that breakthrough point,” he said. “We need the guy who wants to do it. We need that leader who can do it, who shows us he wants the ball. We’re struggling to find that guy who wants to be the guy, who wants to be out there, who wants the spotlight on him.”
Billings 010 004 5 — 10 12 0
Dickinson 101 000 0 — 2 6 1
Michael Merchant and Nick Funyak. James Kary, Luke Herauf (6) and Brady Dutchak. W–Merchant. L–Kary. HR–None.
Highlights: B, Myles Berkram 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, R; Kenny Clarin 0-for-1, RBI, 2 BB; Funyak 1-for-4, RBI; Colter Endy 2-for-4, 2 R; Ian Byorth 1-for-3, RBI, R; Gage Hinsz 0-for-3, R; Brayden Wickam 1-for-4, RBI, R; Colton Welhaven 4-for-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R; Winston Cox 0-for-2, 2 R; Merchant 7 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 2 ER, 0 BB. D, Brett Braunagel 1-for-2, R; Alex Huschka 1-for-2, RBI; Mason Schiff 2-for-3; Kary 0-for-2, RBI, 5.2 IP, 2 K, 5 BB, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER; Dutchak 2-for-2, R.
Scarlets 7, Roughriders 5
Billings catcher Shelby Zorn sat out the first game, which meant he had plenty saved for the nightcap.
Zorn got the Scarlets (21-16) started with a three-run double in the first inning and added a RBI single in the a three-run fifth inning to help his team complete the sweep in the second game.
Garrett Cosgrove got the win for Billings while Dickinson starter Taylor Kraenzel took the loss, pitching five innings and giving up six earned runs and seven hits.
Brett Braunagel was 2-for-4 and scored three of Dickinson’s runs. He scored on a wild pitch in the first and RBI ground-outs by Huschka in the third and fifth.
After Wickam’s two-run single in the fifth gave Billings a 6-2 lead, Braunagel helped Dickinson get back within reach on a two-run bunt single.
They couldn’t get any closer than 6-5, however.
Christian Martinson’s RBI triple in the seventh off reliever Mickey Folske put Billings ahead 7-5 and closer Gage Hinsz faced just four batters to earn the save.
The Roughriders (10-17) played the doubleheader without regulars Dylan Skabo, Korey Kallenbach and Sean Kelly, who are all injured.
Kelly, who only recently returned from an early season knee injury, suffered a concussion after getting hit by a pitch Tuesday against the Minot Vistas. He was not at the games Wednesday.
Dickinson travels to play the Mandan Chiefs in a nine-inning game that begins at 6 p.m. MDT Friday.
Billings 300 030 1 — 7 9 2
Dickinson 101 030 0 — 5 3 0
Garrett Cosgrove, Colton Welhaven (5), Gage Hinsz (7) and Shelby Zorn. Taylor Kraenzel, Mickey Folske (6) and Mark Erickson, Brady Dutchak (6). W–Cosgrove. L–Kraenzel. HR–None.
Highlights: B, Cosgrove 4 IP, 3 ER, 2 K, 3 BB, 3 H; Kenny Clarin 2-for-4, 2 R; Nick Funyak 2-for-2, 2 R; Colter Endy 1-for-4, R; Zorn 2-for-4, 2B, 4 RBI, R; Brayden Wickam 1-for-4, 2 RBI, R; Christian Martinson 1-for-1, 3B, RBI, 2 BB. D, Brett Braunagel 2-for-4, 3 R; Alex Huschka 0-for-4, 2 RBI; Cole Anderson 1-for-3; Kraenzel 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP.
Records: Billings 21-16, Dickinson 10-17.