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Tomanek has become a staple at third base

When Dickinson High baseball coach Pete Dobitz was looking for a full-time starter at third base during the Midgets' state championship run last season, he needed someone who could make plays.

When Dickinson High baseball coach Pete Dobitz was looking for a full-time starter at third base during the Midgets' state championship run last season, he needed someone who could make plays.

Enter Andy Tomanek.

Tomanek, then a junior, fit the bill and never looked back, becoming a fixture in Dickinson's defensive lineup.

"Coach put me there to try me out," Tomanek said. "I'd played second (base) and shortstop my whole life."

Dobitz said Tomanek made the transition with ease.

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"We gave him a shot at third base, and he just sparkled," Dobitz said. "He did everything we asked. He fielded the bunt, took hard shots, wasn't afraid to have the one- or two-hopper go off his chest and throw a runner out."

In his senior season, Tomanek has flourished in his role as a full-time starter, anchoring down the hot corner.

"I've just gotten used to it," Tomanek said. "I'm really comfortable at third."

But you won't hear Tomanek boasting about any of the plays he makes; that wouldn't be his style.

"He's pretty much a quiet kid," Dobitz said. "Not a real hoorah type. What you see is what you get with him. He's not going to sugarcoat anything.

"You never know what you're going to get with kids that are quiet. He was a pleasant surprise."

Dobitz said that has helped him keep a level head on the field.

"He's got such a cool demeanor," Tomanek said. "He doesn't get uptight too much. He doesn't get frazzled much.

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Tomanek's versatility has extended farther than just being able to play infield positions, logging time on the mound as well. After pitching sparingly last season, Tomanek has turned into a dependable thrower, evident by his 2-0 record and 0.75 earned run average. Both of his wins were conference victories against Mandan.

"You can ask him to do other things, and he does it," Dobitz said. "We were running short on arms and he (took) the ball. He picked up two conference wins against a real good team in Mandan. For some kids to be thrown out there for a conference game can be a bit too much, but we knew what he was going to give us."

Though he found solidarity in his defense and pitching, it was his performance at the plate that still left something to be desired. Tomanek didn't get many at-bats as a junior as the Midgets used his spot to employ a designated hitter. To start the season, it didn't look like much had changed.

"We wanted someone with a little more pop," Dobitz said. "He's willing to do anything to help the team."

Things started changing, however, as the season rolled on. Tomanek began taking full advantage of the at-bats he did get, and eventually found himself as the team's No. 9 hitter.

"I've mostly batted ninth my whole life," Tomanek said. "I've always just been trying to get on for the top of the lineup, so they can hit me in."

Dobitz said Tomanek hit a groove, which cemented him into the lineup.

"He really got hot towards the end of the year," Dobitz said. "He goes up to the plate with a good approach. He's not swinging too hard. He's just up there trying to do whatever he's got to do to get on, so we can get back to the top of the order."

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Tomanek's .314 average gives the Midgets another solid bat at the bottom of the lineup.

"He's a second leadoff hitter," Dobitz said. "And he's quick, so he doesn't slow us down when he gets on base."

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