After merley earning a 5-4 victory on Saturday, the Big Sticks were on the verge of taking an 11-1 victory over the Pierre Trappers on Sunday. However, the lead quickly faded in the late innings, with the Big Sticks escaping with an 11-10 victory at Astoria Field.
The Big Sticks’ (24-16) strong offensive toll in the second and sixth innings forced the Trappers (17-24) into the difficult task of coming back from a 10 run deficit. But the home team gave up four runs in the eighth and five in the ninth to pull the deficit to one.
In the top of the ninth, with two outs and bases loaded, the momentum looked to be in the Trappers’ dugout with the team only trailing one run after being down 10. With two prior pitching changes in the same inning, Badlands’ pitcher Michael Reddick took the mound to face Trappers' first baseman Zane Phelps.
With a full count and the entire arena on the edge of its seats, Reddick tossed a dagger into the strike zone but Phelps made contact with a meager line drive that was just short of a base hit, ending the miraculous comeback, and the game.
For Big Sticks’ head coach Billy Tomblin, the victory was more sour than sweet.
“We had guys that got the opportunity [to make plays] and it’s on them that they got to come out and perform and I didn’t think the guys were necessarily ready for their name to get called,” Tomblin said. “I honestly didn’t think that was a very good offensive game for us. I know 11 runs seems like it, but we put up five [runs in the second] then six [runs in the sixth] and you’re cold the rest of the game? I want to see runs every inning.
“11 [runs] is great, it’s always good, but it’s got to be continuous, put pressure on [the opponents],” Tomblin added. “When you don’t do that, you coast and allow teams to come back and that’s what we did today.”
Tomblin credited Reddick for the clutch save in the game’s biggest pitcher-batter showdown.
“Nail biter? Yeah. But with Michael [Reddick] on the mound … I was sitting there more confident than anything,” Tomblin said.
In the early stages, the game looked to be in total favor of the Lewis Division leaders as the Big Sticks took a solid 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second on six hits. The Trappers attempted to narrow the gap by scoring a run in the top of the third, and Trappers’ pitcher Jake Leger pulled out the team's starting pitcher, Colin Smith, and shut out Badlands in the fourth and fifth innings with five strikeouts and a pop fly.
Shortstop Wyatt Setian then began the Badlands’ second scoring rampage in the bottom of the sixth with a towering three-run homer. The Big Sticks scored a total of six runs on four hits in the inning to take an 11-1 lead.
Setian finished the game 2-5 with five RBIs. Infielder Braden Cordes finished 1-2 with three RBIs, a steal and three walks and first baseman Mason Schwellenbach finished 3-5 with two doubles and a run.
The home run was Setian’s second dinger in back-to-back games and increased his league leading home run total to 12.
“It’s not been too bad, I kinda went cold there for a while,” Setian said. “I’m starting to pick it back up as we get closer to the end [of the season.]”
Following the sixth inning, the Big Sticks would never tally another run, allowing for the late comeback push by the Trappers. Pierre finished with 13 hits over the Big Sticks’ 11.
Geo Camfield earned his third victory of the season in six innings pitched for the Big Sticks. Trappers’ pitcher Colin Smith was dealt his fifth loss of the season and is now 1-5 in games pitched.
The Big Sticks now hold a three-game lead over the Trappers and hold a four game lead in the Lewis Division. The team will look for the sweep in its final home game of the regular season on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
Pierre 001 000 045-10 13 2
Badlands 050 006 000-11 11 1
Hitting - Badlands: Brian Cordes 1-2, 3RBI, 3BB, Mason Schwellenbach 3-5, R, Wyatt Setian 2-5, 5RBI, R, Gaylan Young 1-4, R, Alex Aguilar (PH) 0-1, Clayton Hale 0-3, 2BB, R, Michael Theism 2-4, R, RBI, BB, Logan Williams 0-4, BB, 2R, Nathan Sanders 1-4, R, Cadyn Schwabe (PH) 0-1, Chewy Sanders 1-3, R, RBI, BB.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Badlands: Geo Camfield (win) 6.0, 7, 1, 2, 3, 3.70, Carson Lundmark 2.0, 5, 4, 0, 1, 1, 0.00, Jose Torres 0.1, 1, 5, 5, 4, 0, 40.51, Joel Torres 0.1 , 0, 0, 0, 2, 0, 3.94, Michael Reddick (save) 0.1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 4.05.