The West Fargo Patriots came to town Wednesday night for the Dickinson Roughriders final home game of the summer. It was also the final home game for seniors Nathaniel Jilek and Riley O'Donnell.
As the Class AA Legion state tournament draws closer, seeding was on the line for the Patriots in this matchup. With a sweep of Dickinson, West Fargo would clinch the top seed in next week's tournament in Mandan.
The Patriots showed why they were deserving of the number one seed as they defeated Dickinson 13-6 in both games to place themselves above the rest of the field going into the last games of the season.
In the first 13-6 result, West Fargo piled up the hits on Roughrider pitchers Jadon Bast and Troy Berg, allowing 17 hits. The Patriots scored in each of the first three innings to build a 7-0 lead.
Dickinson responded with four runs of their own in the third inning to cut into the lead 7-4. But West Fargo didn’t let off the gas as they put up six more runs over the course of the final three innings to extend their lead 13-4.
The Roughriders tacked on two more runs in the seventh to make it 13-6. O’Donnell had three RBI while Carson Weiler collected three hits. Bast went five innings, allowing seven runs and striking out five.
“We played fine today,” Roughriders head coach Tyler Frenzel said. “We just have to clean up the mental errors and the little things.”
West Fargo struck first in game two as well but not by as much. It was only a 5-0 lead going into the fourth inning, highlighted by a three-run triple from the Patriots in the third. Aiden Haich had the Roughriders on the board in the fourth with an RBI.
It was 7-2 going into the top of the sixth inning when West Fargo had a two-run home run that was blasted over the left field wall to make it 9-2.
Dickinson made the game a little more interesting in the bottom of the frame by scoring four runs themselves. Jilek had an RBI, followed by a Troy Berg inside-the-park home run that scored three runs. His ball traveled to right field where the Patriots right fielder made a poor read on the catch and let the ball slip by him. Berg hustled around the bags and scored with ease to make it 9-6.
Despite drawing closer, the Roughriders allowed West Fargo to put the game out of reach, scoring four more runs.
Jilek, on the mound this inning, loaded the bases with 0 outs as the Roughrider defense had their infield in to try to limit the damage. The Patriots would score two runs before hitting another home-run to left field again, but with a little help from Dickinson left fielder Nick Deschamp.
The ball was hit high and appeared to be on it’s way out of the ballpark, but it dropped into the glove of Deschamp. Unfortunately for the Roughriders, it bounced out of his glove and over the fence to score two more runs. It cemented the 13-6 scoreline.
“It’s the little mental things that get us,” Frenzel said. “It’s not so talent-based sometimes. It’s the little things, knowing how many outs there are and being in the ready position, things like that.”
Dickinson finished the summer 5-11 in conference play, but still have one matchup remaining, a non-conference road date with Mandan on Thursday.