'Better late than never': Big Sticks snatch last-minute victory against Fremont Moo
The Badlands Big Sticks walked away with a comeback win in the ninth over Fremont Moo in Friday's game of the three-game at-home series.
DICKINSON — The Badlands Big Sticks took on the Eastern Nebraska Fremont Moo Friday of a three-game at-home series. The Sticks trailed behind late in the game and made a show-stopping turn around in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 win.
The ball game started off scoreless and slow with powerful defense from both teams. Freshman Cooper Dulich put the first run on the board in the third for a 1-0 Sticks lead. In the sixth, the Moo turned on the heat with a walk, a double and an earned run for a 3-1 advantage on the Sticks.
Alex Thurston racked up another point for the Sticks in the seventh after hitting a single and running the bags on an error by the shortstop.
Starting pitcher Sam Marhefke toed the rubber for seven and tallied seven K’s on the night. By the conclusion of the seventh, he had thrown 80 pitches.
“Our pitching was awesome,” Cam Johnson, Big Sticks head coach said. “Sam gave up two hard-hit balls all day and it cost us two runs. Fremont is a good hitting team so to hold them to that was huge. Sam’s been battling some injuries too, so to see him come out and throw for multiple innings was good for our team. He was a big contributor for us.”
Marhefke wasn’t the only Sticks player struggling with injuries. Outfielder and designated batter Carson Lundmark did not make an appearance in the game due to a non-baseball related knee injury. Derrick Calvillo, who is another regular batter for the Sticks is also recovering from a back injury. He had only one at bat in the ninth, but one was all it took for him to hit a double.
“He stepped up in a tight spot and really picked us up,” Johnson said.
Relief pitcher Daniel Rivera threw for the remaining one-and-a-half innings and allowed no runs, no walks and tallied one K for a 2.40 ERA.
Outfielder Cory Brownson saved the game for the Sticks in the last few seconds of the ninth with a walk-off 2 RBI single. The Sticks erupted from their dug out and raced on to the field jumping and screaming in victory. Brownson received a sticky water and Gatorade bath, for making one of the biggest, electric come backs of the season.
“They (the Moo) were pounding me away all game and that last AB, he came in on me and I just got enough of it (the ball) where it snuck out through the infield,” Brownson said. “It means a lot. This is my first collegiate walk-off in a long time.”
Johnson was overwhelmingly proud of his team for pulling together to take the win, especially with several players sick or recovering from injury.
“Cory was the man,” Johnson said. “He shows up every day and works his tail off and this was no surprise. There’s no moment too big for him. He’s pretty steady all the time, and that’s how he gets those results… Our guys were just itching to bust the score open there and it was better late than never.”