Dropping the first game of their home doubleheader against Glendive (Mont.) on Saturday, June 15, the Dickinson Roughriders were three outs away from coming up empty in the first leg of a home-and-home weekend series with the Blue Devils.
However, Justin Berger changed the looming outcome with one swing.
Down 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh, the Roughriders got one man aboard after a single from Tristen Brunk. Later in the frame, Berger came through in the clutch, smacking a two-run, walk-off home run as the home team captured a 9-8 victory from the Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
As the series transitioned west to Montana on Sunday, Dickinson collected a pair of comeback wins in drastically different fashion.
Facing a first-inning deficit in game three, the Roughriders bashed 16 hits en route to a 16-10 triumph. Next, the visitors came out on top 3-2 in a low-scoring pitching affair from the Meissner American Legion Baseball Field.
"Justin's walk-off really energized us (Saturday)," Roughriders head coach Tyler Frenzel said. "That was fun to watch and that was a nice moment for him to have that. And (Sunday) the mood was really light, guys were ready to go, and I thought we played really well."
In game three, the Roughriders trailed 4-1 after one inning of play before putting up four runs in the second and three in the third. The hosts closed the gap to 8-7 in the bottom in the fifth before Dickinson doubled their scoring output, producing five runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.
Rocky to begin the game, Roughriders starter pitcher Cody Maier battled his way to the win after allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks through 4 ⅔ innings. In the batter's box, Maier was dynamite, cracking three of his series-high 10 hits during Sunday's opener.
Aiden Haich led the team at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored.
It was the sixth time this season the Roughriders put 10 or more runs up on the scoreboard.
"I stress to keep the line moving," Frenzel said of lineup's production. "For us to be successful, we have to have everybody hitting and clicking on all cylinders, and we've done a good job of that this year."
In the series finale, Glendive jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second, but the Roughriders recovered in the middle frames. Jaren Hugelin led off the top of the fourth with a double. He was moved to third on a single from Kobe Krenz before scoring the game-tying run on a Berger sacrifice fly.
One inning later, Maier drove in the game-winner run, singling in Nathaniel Jilek from second base. Jilek had reached with a one-out double.
On the mound, Haich went four innings to pick up the decision. Krenz tossed a scoreless fifth and sixth before Berg closed the seventh to collect the save.
"We're able to execute on both sides of the ball," Frenzel said. "We were able to hit the ball and come from behind in the first game and put up 16 runs. And then in the nightcap, we were able to bear down and get those last nine outs without surrendering any runs. That was big for us."
Dickinson will head to Sheridan, Wyo., on Tuesday for a nine-inning affair with the Sheridan Troopers before traveling to Laramie, Wyo., for the Dooley Oil Classic.
Glendive (Mont.) Blue Devils 8, Dickinson Roughriders 2
Highlights: DR: Cody Maier 2-4, RBI, R; Kobe Krenz 2-3; Troy Berg 2-4, 2B; Justin Berger 1-3, 3B.
Dickinson Roughriders 9, Glendive (Mont.) Blue Devils 8
Highlights: DR: Justin Berger 1-2, Walk-off 2-run HR, R; Cody Maier 3-4, 2B. 4 RBI, 3 R; Carson Weiler 2-3, BB, 2 R.
Dickinson Roughriders 16, Glendive (Mont.) Blue Devils 10
DR 143 005 3 - 16 16 1
GBD 401 020 3 - 10 8 2
DR: Cody Maier (4.2), Kobe Krenz (0.1), Troy Berg (1.0), Dawson Dassinger (0.0), Jaren Hugelen (1.0) and Logan Bentz.
W-Maier. L-N/A. HR-None.
Highlights: DR: Maier 3-5, 2B, RBI, R, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 R (6 ER), 2 K; Aiden Haich 4-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R; Nathaniel Jilek 1-2, 3 BB, 3 R; Krenz 2-4, 4 RBI, 2 R, 0.1 IP; Troy Berg 1-2, 2 BB, RBI, 2 R, IP; Carson Weiler 2-4, BB, 2 RBI, R; Bentz 1-2, 2 BB, 2 RBI, R; Jaren Hugelen 1-4, BB, RBI, 2 R, IP; Justin Berger 1-5, RBI, R.
Dickinson Roughriders 3, Glendive (Mont.) Blue Devils 2
DR 100 110 0 - 3 9 0
GBD 110 000 0 - 2 3 0
DR: Aiden Haich (4.0), Kobe Krenz (2.0), Troy Berg (1.0).
W-Haich. L-N/A. S-Berg. HR-None.
Highlights: DR: Nathaniel Jilek 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R; Maier 2-4, 2B, RBI; Troy Berg 1-4, RBI, IP, S; Justin Berger 1-2 RBI; Jaren Hugelen 1-3, R.
*Full stats were not available.