In the seventh inning, Badlands Big Sticks left fielder Gabe Knowles ran back into the night chasing a ball hit by the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks. A home run would have made the game a one run contest, but Knowles leaped at the right moment to bring the ball back into the yard.
The Big Sticks scored double digit runs once again on Thursday, July 25 at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. They defeated the Whiskey Jacks by a score of 10-3.
“I got a good read on it. I got a lot of help from my center fielder Nate (Sanders) who talked me through where the ball was. I timed up the jump pretty well and ended up bringing it back,” said Knowles. When asked if he has ever made a play like that before he said, “no and I probably never will again.”
The Wheat City bats came out strong as they knocked around Big Sticks starter Gabe Lizarraga in the first half inning of the game. In the first at bat of the game, the Whiskey Jacks catcher Austin Trahan was hit by a pitch. Center fielder Reagan Doss doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Shortstop Cody Kehl doubled to score both of them and give Wheat City the early 2-0 lead.
The Big Sticks roared out of the gates in the bottom half of the first. Third baseman Bryson Ford recorded an infield single with one out in the inning. Shortstop Michael Fuhrman checked his swing in the next at bat, but nonetheless he made contact through the first and second base gap. Ford scored, because he was in scoring position after stealing second base.
When asked about being aggressive on the base paths, Big Sticks Head Coach Hayden Pewitt said, “We have guys that can run and we are going to run. We aren’t going to stop, because someone has a good catcher or pitcher on the mound.”
Center fielder Nathan Sanders and designated hitter Mason Schwellenbach both singled between first and second base as well. Schwellenbach’s hit scored Fuhrman to tie the game. Later in the inning, first baseman Garrett Dupuis reached on an error that allowed Sanders to score and Badlands to take a 3-2 lead.
To leadoff the second inning, Myles Harris hit a solo homer to tie the game for Wheat City.
In the bottom of the third, Badlands took the lead for good. Knowles singled off the glove of the Whiskey Jacks’ diving shortstop, Kehl, to score Fuhrman.
In the next inning, another shot, this time by catcher Brayden Olson, went off Kehl’s glove. Olson was driven in by right fielder Dylan Ditzenberger to give Badlands the 5-3 advantage. Third baseman Bryson Ford finished off the inning with a single that drove in Ditzenberger.
On the night, Ford went 3-4 at the plate with 3 RBI’s.
“My first at bat I kind of got lucky. In my second bat, I noticed they were pounding our hitters in and throwing a lot of inside fastballs,” said Ford. “I adjusted and looked for that pitch. I put a barrell to the ball and found holes (in the defense.”)
After Knowles robbed home run attempt, the Big Sticks added three more runs in the seventh inning. Ditzenberger singled to score Dupuis, and Ford added to his big night when he scored Olson and Ditzenberger with another single to make the score 10-3.
The Big Sticks travel this weekend for a three game set against the Whiskey Jacks in Canada.