Roughriders split two-game set at Mandan
After his team suffered a three-game sweep against Rapid City two days earlier, Dickinson Roughriders head coach Stephen Greenwood noted how his squad needed to learn how to win.
His players took that message to heart in the second game of a doubleheader against Mandan, adding insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning en route to a 7-2 victory, snapping a five-game losing streak.
In the opener, Dickinson allowed seven runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the bottom of the fifth in a 16-6 loss to the Chiefs on Tuesday, June 12 from Veteran's Memorial Ballpark.
"We actually had that exact conversation before the games where if we were in a situation where we have a lead, we need to have the energy high, finish and put the team away," Greenwood said.
The Roughriders entered the seventh inning of game two with a 3-2 advantage after shortstop Joey Pavek and catcher Tristen Brunk each drove in a run with sacrifice flies in the top of the third. Pavek put his team ahead with a sacrifice fly in the fifth before continuing his damage in the seventh.
Padding the slimmest of leads with two on and two outs, Pavek ripped a two-run double. From the top of the order, he finished the doubleheader 3-for-6 with five RBIs and a run scored.
"We got a couple of runs in the top of the seventh and the dugout was kind of content with just a couple of runs. I went over there, pulled them together and said 'boys, this is not enough,'" Greenwood said. "We talked about putting a team away and this is how you win. You finish, you get those runners that are on base [driven] in. They responded and it was a pleasant surprise."
Dickinson tacked on four more runs in the frame, serving as plenty of run support for starting pitcher Sam England. The Dickinson High grad tossed a complete game, giving up two runs (neither earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out four.
"Everything was working for him tonight. I told the boys at the end of the game that Sammy didn't throw tonight, he pitched," Greenwood said. "Sammy is not a hard thrower, but when he's mixing his pitches and every once in a while reaches back to put something else on it, he completely catches the hitters off guard. ... He definitely led by example and I hope the next guy up takes something out of his book."
The offense in game two carried over from game one as the Roughriders (2-7) generated six runs on 10 base knocks. They closed a five-run deficit down to one in the top of the fourth after RBI hits from Pavek, England and Jaren Hugelen.
However after sending 12 batters to the plate, the Chiefs punched back with seven runs in the bottom of frame.
In an half-inning that featured three Dickinson pitchers taking the mound, Mandan collected only four hits but was aided by three walks, two hit-batters and two passed balls.
"We scored a couple of runs there and it was looking good. We just gave [Mandan] too much," Greenwood said. "They didn't earn enough with walks, hit-by-pitches and then the errors happened. That's how it always gets away from us if we are not throwing strikes."
Mandan 16, Dickinson 6 (F/5)
D 200 40 — 6 10 3
M 250 72 — 16 12 2
D: Kobe Krenz (3), Colton Jones (0.1), Nathaniel Jilek (1), Logan Hoff (0.1) and Tristen Brunk. M: Easton Miller (4.2), Cole Schmidt (0.1) and Parker Zander.
W—Miller. L—Krenz. HR—None.
Highlights: D: Sam England 2-2, 2 RBI, 2 R; Jaren Hugelen 3-3, 2B, RBI, R; Joey Pavek 2-3, RBI, R. M: Casey Mack, 3-3, 3 RBI, R; Jaxon Duttenhefer 1-3, 3B, 5 RBI, 2 BB, R; Jaden Andresen 2-3, RBI, 4 R, 2 BB.
Dickinson 9, Mandan 2
D 002 010 6 — 9 6 2
M 020 000 0 — 2 6 1
D: England (7) and Tristen Brunk. M: Ty Leingang (6.2), Evan Arenz (0.1) and Jackson Zittleman.
W—England. L—Brunk. HR—None.
Highlights: D: England 0-2, R, 7 IP, 6 H, BB, 4 K, 2 R (0 ER); Pavek 1-3, 2B, 4 RBI, R; Hugelen 1-2, 2B, BB, R. M: Andresen 2-3, 2B; Zittleman 2-3; Noah Gerhardt 1-3, RBI.