Now with the second half table starting to form the Badlands Big Sticks work to keep their high standing, but the top-dogs of the Lewis division — Souris Valley Sabre Dogs — have not made it easy for them.
Bats did not compliment the commendable fight the Big Sticks put out against the 31-14 Sabre Dogs at home Thursday night. Coming off an away loss in game one 1-3, the home team nine hits wasn't enough to split the series and lose the second time in a row 3-14.
“We are just in a little bit of a rut right now and I am not really sure what's going on with that or why that's happening,” head coach Billy Tomblin said. “We just got to keep showing up and try and find a way to knock ourselves out of the funk and if we can do that and I do think we are capable of doing that, whenever it happens I think we will do just fine.”
The visiting team was consistent in collecting runs in the first five innings while the Big Sticks had trouble getting started grabbing their first run in the fifth. At the top of the sixth Souris Valley commanded a 10-1.
Joe Osborn, Division leader in home runs with 11, would grab the first run from a fielder's choice hit by Matt Olive. In the sixth Osborn would also add an RBI to his lead of most RBIs amongst his teammates.
Each of the three runs scored by the Badlands would come from fielder's choice hits and of those innings seven runners would be left stranded. They would accumulate 14 LOBs in total.
The batter’s box saw very little excitement from the Badlands with no home runs and only one double coming from The Dickinson Eagles Club’s player of the game Wyatt Setian, who was 2-4 at the plate and would grab the second run in the sixth.
“The bats have just gotten cold and I think that just ties in with that funk we are in,” Tomblin said. “ We just can't help ourselves out of it right now, but the only way out of it is to keep swinging and continue to believe that you are going to get out of it at some point.”
Sabre Dogs continued their momentum collecting two runs in the seventh from Steven Moretto two-run homer and final two in the ninth. Division leader in RBIs Beau Brewer brought in a teammate and collected the last run for Souris Valley in an already decided scoresheet.
The Big Sticks continued looking for that one clutch hit till the final putout in the ninth, but would only manage one run with three players left on bases. Defensively they went deep into their bullpen with five pitchers taking the mound with only three strikeouts among them. Michael Reddick started, but with only one strikeout to show for five hits and five runs was soon replaced by Casten Reed in the third. Calvin Watkins, Matt Slowik and Derek Gellos would also pitch, in that order — None of the pitchers have an ERA below 5.00.
The home side's frustration was obvious, but the commitment to their fans was easually represented, signing autographs right after the loss and showing readiness to come back to the diamond to face a new adversary the following day. Still at home, the Badlands Big Sticks will have their first run-in this season against the Canyon County Spuds at 6:05 p.m.