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Hopfauf, Roughriders handle Piedmont

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson’s Andrew Heckaman swings to connect with a pitch against Piedmont (S.D.) Post 311 on Friday at Southside Municipal Ballpark and Astoria Field.

Unlike Thursday’s nightcap, the Dickinson Roughriders American Legion baseball team didn’t let Piedmont, S.D., Post 311 hang around on Friday.

The Roughriders piled on 12 runs in the first three innings.

One piece Dickinson had Friday, which it didn’t have Thursday was the bat of Tanner Hopfauf.

Hopfauf went 3 for 4 with a grand slam — his third home run of the season — seven RBI and scored two runs to lead the Roughriders past Piedmont 14-1 at the Southside Municipal Ballpark and Astoria Field.

“Tanner has always been a staple in our order,” Dickinson head coach Cory Hansen said about Hopfauf, who was at orientation for the University of North Dakota on Thursday. “He’s a good DH and he’s been playing a good second base as of late. He definitely helps our team.”

The victory didn’t just cement Dickinson’s 16th win of the season and a three-game sweep of Piedmont. It meant much more.

After putting together an 11-0 win during Thursday’s opener, the Roughriders (16-5) didn’t re-create the same amount of success in the nightcap. Dickinson hung on to beat Piedmont 3-1, which included a two-run sixth inning.

“It meant a lot to us, but it meant more to our coach,” said Dickinson’s Mark Erickson, who finished 2 for 4 and scored four runs. “He wasn’t happy with how we played the second game (on Thursday). The fact that we can come out here, do what we are supposed to, makes our confidence go up in the dugout.”

Needless to say, Hansen was pleased with the team’s effort on Friday.

The Roughriders picked up 11 hits, seven walks and two hit by pitches. Andrew Heckaman went 2 for 4 with two RBI, while Alex Huschka, Michael McChesney, Luke Herauf and Kendall Jones each had a hit. Cole Anderson, who had three plate appearances and no official at-bats, was walked twice, hit by a pitch and scored three runs.

“I was very happy,” he said. “We were able to string a couple hits together and once one or two guys do it, then everyone else starts picking up the pace. It’s was nice to get it going early.”

In the field, Dickinson committed one error, which accounted for Piedmont’s one run.

On the mound, Dickinson’s Dylan Skabo struggled a little bit in the first and second innings, but quickly settled down to retire 10 of the last 11 batters. Skabo went five innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out three.

“The ump had a really good zone and I knew I just had to go out there and throw strikes,” Skabo said. “I knew our offense was going to put up runs.”

Connor Nedved scored Piedmont’s lone run. Grady Grimshaw hit a RBI single to drive in Nedved. Matt Steinlicht, Jake Henderson and Matt Carreiro each had hits.

The Roughriders continue their season traveling to the Mandan Chiefs for a single nine-inning game at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Dickinson returns to the Bismarck-Mandan area traveling to the Bismarck Governors doubleheader at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“Our focus right now is to get healed up and get some arms rested, because we’ve had a long stretch,” Hansen said. “We got three important games coming up. We want to go all out on that and then we’ll have another short break during the Fourth.”

Piedmont 010 00 — 1 4 4

Dickinson 363 2x — 14 11 1

Hunter Sluka, Matt Steinlicht (2), Matt Carreiro (3) and Connor Nedved. Dylan Skabo and Andrew Heckaman.

W–Skabo. L–Sluka. HR–D, Tanner Hopfauf.

Highlights: P, Steinlicht 1 for 3, 2B; Jake Henderson 1 for 2, SB; Grady Grimshaw 1 for 2, RBI; Carreiro 1 for 2; Nedved run. D, Hopfauf 3 for 4, HR, 2B, 7 RBI, 2 runs; Mark Erickson 2 for 4, 4 runs; Andrew Heckaman 2 for 4, 2 RBI; Alex Huschka 1 for 2, 2B, run; Michael McChesney 1 for 3, 2 runs; Luke Herauf 1 for 3, RBI, 2 runs; Kendall Jones 1 for 1; Cole Anderson 3 runs.