The first place Badlands Big Sticks got back on track in a rain delayed win over Western Nebraska on Friday evening.

The bats came alive for Badlands (18-15) at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark with 16 hits in a 14-1 rout over the Pioneers.

“We came out with a better approach tonight,” Big Sticks head coach Billy Tomblin said. “We had a better approach, mind set and we were rocking and rolling. We took advantage of opportunities. We situationally hit and finally came up with hits to score runs which is something we haven’t done in a while.”

Mason Schwellenbach and kids celebrate after he helped them win a game of tug-of-war in an inbetween innings game on the field at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark on Friday, July 31. (Jake Wright / The Dickinson Press)
Mason Schwellenbach and kids celebrate after he helped them win a game of tug-of-war in an inbetween innings game on the field at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark on Friday, July 31. (Jake Wright / The Dickinson Press)

The second inning set the pace for Badlands as they plated six unearned runs to rush out to an early victory.

They never looked back from there as they scored at least one run in every inning for the rest of the contest.

Western Nebraska (14-20) struck first in the top half of the first frame but other than that Malik Barrington and Marcus Hughes pitched beautiful baseball. They combined to strike out 13 allowing only seven hits.

A lightning and rain delay occurred for about an hour after the top half of the sixth inning, but the Big Sticks didn’t ever waiver coming out of the stoppage.

“I didn’t say much to the guys,” Tomblin said. “I let players make plays. It is up to them to make sure they are ready to go. Anything I say to them isn’t going to change much. They have to be ready to rock.”

Mac McCroskey is greeted by teammates after hitting a home run late Badlands 14-1 win over Western Nebraska at Astoria Field on Friday July, 31. (Jake Wright / The Dickinson Press)
Mac McCroskey is greeted by teammates after hitting a home run late Badlands 14-1 win over Western Nebraska at Astoria Field on Friday July, 31. (Jake Wright / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson native Eli Jung blasted home runs in each of the fifth and eighth innings and after his eighth inning long shot Mac McCroskey followed it up with another long bomb.

McCroskey totaled three hits, while Jung, Gavin Sloan and Braden Cordes all had two each.

Despite the big win, Tomblin still thinks Badlands hasn’t played a full defensive game all season. They had one error on Friday night.

“I still think we are better defensively than what we have shown,” he said. “I think we are an error free type of team. I think defensively we are really solid. There are still things to work on and improve on and we still have to strive to be better tomorrow.

Badlands looks to win the series on Saturday night with first pitch coming at 6:35.