Whenever pitcher Kobe Krenz fell behind a batter, Dickinson High baseball head coach Pete Dobitz would remind his junior on the mound to attack the zone in hopes of remaining economical with his pitches.
'Stay efficient, stay efficient,' Dobitz would shout from the dugout, and the junior on the mound took that note to heart.
Krenz utilized a pair of quick innings to produce a quality start, while the Midgets bats used patience at the plate en route to an 8-2 victory over Mandan on Friday, April 5, from the Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. In the back end of the doubleheader, Dickinson won as a walk-off walk from junior outfielder Isaac Gjerde with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth gave the home team a 3-2 comeback triumph.
Krenz allowed just one hit and did not relinquish an earned run in five strong innings during the opener.
"Don't try too hard and hit your spots," said Krenz of his mentality. "I used my legs and with more velocity, my pitches were harder to hit."
As well as his night ended, the right-hander had to work his way out of stressful innings to open his stint. Krenz delivered 46 pitches through the first two frames, both of were extended by a pair of Midget errors. The Braves couldn't take advantage, though, stranding four baserunners and tallying just one run on the scoreboard.
The Midgets junior on the bump found his groove in the top of the third. After getting Mandan senior outfielder Connor Seefeld to line out, Krenz fanned sophomore infielder Jaxon Duttenhefer and senior outfielder Easton Andresen as part of an eight-pitch inning. Krenz closed his night after pumping in another eight-pitch effort in the fifth. He finished with seven strikeouts and gave up just two walks.
"My fastball and my curveball were working tonight. And recently, I've been working on a changeup," Krenz said. "Our pitching coach, he taught me it before the game, and it worked."
Dickinson broke the game open in the bottom of the third. Entering the frame with a 2-1 lead, freshman third baseman Troy Berg reached on a fielder's choice before senior outfielders Justin Berger and Gjerde both walked to load the bases. With one out, junior Joey Pavek knocked in the biggest blow of a four-run inning, slicing a rope off Duttenhefer's glove at first base and into right field for a two-run double.
The team's patience at the plate was on display, as it put up more walks (nine) than base hits (seven).
"This team, naturally, is a patient team, sometimes by fault. So I thought it was a good balance of swinging at strikes," assistant coach Stephen Greenwood said. "Sometimes we struggle with watching some good ones go, but it was a good balance to see that there were some guys swinging at that first pitch if it was in there, but then the game kind of dictated itself and they weren't swinging at balls."
Midgets sophomore and game two starter Nick Deschamp was cruising before running into trouble in the top of the fourth. He quickly struck out his first two batters but then served up back-to-back singles and a walk. Struggling with his command, Deschamp allowed the go-ahead run to cross the plate after a five-pitch base-on-balls to junior outfielder Blake Arenz, which gave the visitors a 2-1 cushion.
His counterpart, senior Evan Arenz, also went four, allowing just a hit and an unearned run while striking out five. With 66 pitches, Arenz was relieved by senior pitcher Conner Seefeld.
"We threw too many pitches in both games," Mandan head coach Dewitt Mack said. "We were running the counts quite high and we can't do that if we expect our pitchers to stick around longer in the game. We ended up burning up a couple of pitchers. It's the first couple of games, so it's early and it will get better from here on out."
Dickinson tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when Berger poked a single into the opposite field, scoring senior first baseman Cody Maier from second.
Maier also got things going in the eighth with a base hit to right field. With one out and a runner on first, Berg came up with the critical hit, dropping the 1-0 pitch just inside the left-field foul line for a double.
"(The pitch) was inside, that's where I like," said Berg, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn the victory. "I was 0-for-3 already tonight, I did not want to go 0-for-4. So, I came up thinking I was going to hit the ball, and I did."
Mandan intentionally walked Berger, loading the bases and playing the infield in to position for a potential double play. Gjerde next stepped to the plate and quickly jumped ahead 2-0. When Seefeld delivered a strike, Gjerde took the next two pitches for balls, bringing home Maier for the game-winning run.
"This is huge because we need that confidence," Greenwood said. "If you have the confidence, you are going to do great things in this game. ... We went through a lot of growing pains to gain that confidence. We know that we can compete at this level and it was imperative that we got off to this great start."
Dickinson 8, Mandan 2
M 100 001 0 - 2 1 4
D 114 011 x - 8 4 4
M: Jacob Weiand (2.1), Cole Schmidt (2.2), Garrett Froelich (1.0) and Parker Zander. D: Kobe Krenz (5.0), Dawson Dassinger (1.0), Troy Berg (1.0) and Logan Bentz.
W-Krenz. L-Weiand. HR-None.
Highlights: M: Jaxon Duttenhefer 1-3, RBI; Froelich IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB. D: Krenz 5 IP, H R (0 ER), 7 K, 2 BB, W; Joey Pavek 2-2, 2B, 2 RBI, R; Berg, 2-4, 2 R, 4 SB, IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB.
Dickinson 3, Mandan 2 (F/8)
M 000 100 00 - 2 7 6
D 100 001 01 - 3 5 0
M: Evan Arenz (4.0), Conner Seefeld (3.1) and Jackson Zittleman. D: Nick Deschamp (4.0), Morgan Wardner (3.0), Troy Berg (1.0), and Logan Bentz.
W-Berg. L-Seefeld. HR-None.
Highlights: M: E. Arenz 1-4, RBI, 4 IP, H, R (0 ER), 5 K, 0 BB; Garrett Froelich 2-3. D: Berg IP, H, 0 BB, 0 R, W, 1-4, 2B; Cody Maier 1-4, 2 R (GW R); Wardner, 0-3, 3 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.