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Big Sticks wrap up playoff spot against Spuds

Badlands went up against Canyon County, the other team vying for the final playoff spot in the Lewis division.

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The Big Sticks 4-10 start to the season seems like ages ago as they clinched a playoff spot Tuesday night. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

For the fourth straight year, the Badlands Big Sticks will play for an Expedition League championship.

The Big Sticks (35-25) travelled to Idaho for a three-game set against the Canyon County Spuds (25-36) earlier this week with a chance to lock up the second playoff spot in the Lewis division.

They swept the series in emphatic style, outscoring the Spuds 36-13 over the three games, including a 20-7 victory Tuesday night in the game that officially booked their ticket to next week’s playoffs.

In the first two games of the series on Monday and Tuesday, the Big Sticks were as hot as you could be at the plate, registering 39 hits combined.

Six players had multi-hit performances in Monday night’s 9-4 victory, with Eric Martinez and Travis Ray Jr. having three apiece. Wyatt Setian had the lone home run for the Big Sticks in the game and had two RBI. Ray Jr. chipped in two RBI.

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Josh Tucker continued his impressive season with another solid outing on the mound, striking out ten and allowing two runs in his five and two-thirds of an inning of work.

He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in an outing since June 5. His ERA stands at 2.94, third best in the Expedition League.

Tuesday night’s rout of Canyon County was the Big Sticks highest scoring output of the season. The game didn’t produce the big innings you would expect in a 20-7 victory as they scored more than 3 runs in just one inning, a six-spot in the fourth.

Five players had three or more hits with Ryan Stafford and Derek Gellos leading the way with four each. The game featured only one home run, a solo shot from the Big Sticks’ Austin Bunn, his first of the season, as the visitors slowly extended their lead throughout the game with base hits.

Gellos had six RBI, the most he’s had in a game this season, while Matt Olive had five, also a season-best.

With the series won and playoff spot secured, the Big Sticks weren’t done pouring it on Wednesday night as they won 7-2 behind a five-run second inning.

It was a less offensive game for Badlands, recording just seven hits, as it was time for the pitching staff to shine. The trio of Joe Harris, Michael Reddick and Mason Hoover struck out ten and gave up only five hits.

There are still two more games to be played for the Big Sticks, coming against Canyon County this weekend in Dickinson, but the playoff matchup next week is set.

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Badlands will take on the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs in a best-of-three series in the divisional round to see who will advance to the championship series. Game one will be Monday, August 9 in Dickinson, with game two and a potential game three on the road in Minot.

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The bats were alive in Idaho - Badlands had 46 hits across three games. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Race Archibald is a former sports reporter with The Dickinson Press.
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