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Midgets rally to end season with a victory

Dickinson High baseball coach Pete Dobitz said he got something out of Thursday's conference game against Mandan besides the win. The Midgets rallied from five- and three-run deficits to overcome shaky pitching in their 10-9 victory at Southside ...

Dickinson High baseball coach Pete Dobitz said he got something out of Thursday's conference game against Mandan besides the win.

The Midgets rallied from five- and three-run deficits to overcome shaky pitching in their 10-9 victory at Southside Municipal Ballpark.

The win closed out the West Region schedule for both teams, though they entered the contest locked into their seeds for the upcoming West Region tournament, which starts Thursday in Beulah.

The Midgets won the conference with a final record of 16-2 while Mandan is the No. 5 seed with a 9-9 conference mark.

Dobitz said he was pleased to be able to watch his team rally after falling behind.

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"It was nice to come from behind," Dobitz said. "The kids are playing with a lot of confidence. After we got behind 6-1, the kids came off the field and were saying 'We're going to get this.' That's all you can ask for."

The Midgets trailed by five runs early as starter Jackson Wandler struggled, allowing six runs on eight hits in 2Xc innings.

However, Dickinson responded in the bottom of the third with five runs thanks in large part to a three-run homer from cleanup hitter Ben Herauf.

Herauf's blast was followed by a single from catcher Michael Steve. Tyrel Gion courtesy ran for Steve and stole second, eventually tying the game on a pair of wild pitches from Mandan starter Jeff Werner.

The Braves fired back with three more runs in the fourth inning, two of which came on a single down the third-base line by catcher Jason Mellmer off reliever Andy Tomanek.

After that, Tomanek and closer Michael Steve shut the door on Mandan's offense, holding the Braves scoreless while allowing just two hits and a walk in the final three innings. Tomanek earned the win.

"Andy throws strikes and he works quick," Dobitz said. "The defense stays awake."

Dobitz said he elected to go with Steve in the final inning so the Midgets could finish strong. Steve picked up his seventh save of the season.

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"We wanted to close the door," Dobitz said.

But, before that, it still took a rally in the fourth to get the Midgets up to nine runs as Tomanek walked to start the inning and leadoff Tyler Steffan was plunked on the helmet for the second time in four innings.

Stephen Laylock singled to shallow right field to load the bases for Cole Frenzel, who doubled to deep left center before being thrown out trying to turn it into a triple.

Nonetheless, Frenzel's bases-clearing knock was enough to tie the game.

In the fifth, Grant Kovacs started the inning off with a triple to shallow right, which was misplayed by right fielder Sam Salveson. After a pair of strikeouts, Laylock had an eerily similar hit, reaching third and driving in Kovacs for what was the eventual game-winning run.

For the Midgets, Laylock finished a home run short of the cycle, scoring two runs with two runs batted in.

Steve went 2-for-3 with a triple, and Frenzel and Herauf each had three RBI.

Mandan was led at the plate by Jared Quast, Matt Keller and Mellmer, who each had two hits.

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Mandan coach Dewitt Mack said although his team didn't get the win, he got some things accomplished that he was hoping to.

"Our goal was to hit the ball and we did that," Mack said of Mandan's 11 hits. "We wanted to get Jeff some more mound time."

Mandan 4, Dickinson 2

Mandan jumped on Midgets starter Dan Berg right from the start, scoring three runs in the first inning. Dickinson came back with a run in the bottom half, but couldn't muster much more, scoring just one more run the rest of the way.

The Mandan pitching duo of Sam Salveson and Matt Keller held the Midgets to three hits, two of which were doubles by Jackson Wandler.

Dickinson starter Dan Berg combined with relievers Tyler Steffan and Ben Herauf to hold the Braves to four hits, though three runs in the first proved costly.

Salveson and catcher Steve Serr each had a hit for the Braves while Dickinson's other hit came from Connor McNeilly.

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