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Big Sticks overpower Whiskey Jacks in stormy game

BadlandsvsWheat
Badlands Big Sticks Center fielder Bryson Ford celebrates hitting a grand slam during their second game against the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks on Tuesday night. (Jake Wright // The Dickinson Press)

The long ball was flying for both teams Tuesday evening at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark as the Badlands Big Sticks and Wheat City Whiskey Jacks combined for ten home runs in a rain-shortened game. The Big Sticks’ hot bats overwhelmed the Whiskey Jacks and they beat them by a score of 17-11 to win their third straight game.

Things started out strong for Wheat City. In the top of the first frame the Whiskey Jacks knocked around Badlands starting pitcher, Matthew Meskin, as designated hitter Jackson Pokorney and catcher Lucas Allen jacked back-to-back solo home runs to make the score 2-0. Pokorney has hit three solo home runs in the first two games of the three game series.

Not to be outdone, Badlands torched Wheat City starting pitcher, Blake Wells when they had their chance at the plate. Big Sticks first baseman Conner VanCleave ignited his bat, knocking a home run that drove in second baseman Ryan Walstad. Right fielder Mason Schwellenbach, the very next batter, tried to keep up with VanCleave, slamming one over the fence as well to give the Big Sticks a 3-2 lead.

Badlands coach Hayden Pewitt commented on the inclement weather after the game.

“It was crazy tonight. With this yard, it is already a small park. With the wind blowing out, it isn’t really baseball to be honest, but it was a fun game for sure.”

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The night was just getting started for the Big Sticks hitters after the opening inning. Third baseman Garrett Dupuis recorded a sacrifice fly to score shortstop Anthony Garrett who had just stolen second base in the second inning. A few batters later the bases were loaded when center fielder Bryson Ford came up to the plate. He launched a ball into almost outer-space for a grand slam that gave the Big Sticks an 8-3 lead.

“I was seeing the ball well today. It was a really windy day,” Ford said about the home run hitting tonight. “Basically if you got a barrel to it, then it was going out of the park. We had a lot of help.”

Ford would finish the night 2-4 at the plate with four RBI’s and three runs scored.

In the third, designated hitter Jaret Humprhey added on when he drove in two runs with a single. Catcher Michael Fuhrman would continue the trend of the night several batters later with a two-run shot that gave the Big Sticks a 12-3 lead. VanCleave finished the scoring in the inning with a RBI single.

Prior to the fourth inning there was a shade of foreshadowing what was to come later in the evening. At first it seemed the game was headed for a weather delay with ominous clouds behind the left field. Ultimately the delay was because the umpire in the field had an injury and the game would go on with only a single umpire behind home plate.

The Whiskey Jacks would attempt a comeback in the sixth inning. First baseman Keegan Sueltz launched a solo home run followed by two RBI singles from Pokorney and Allen to bring the score to 15-7 after the top of the sixth.

In the top of the seventh as the rain fell heavily and sideways, Wheat City kept adding more runs. Sueltz added his second solo home run in as many innings. Robbie Merced came up with two runners on base and would join the party with a three-run homer. The Whiskey Jacks would be down 16-11 with what they thought to be six outs left for them in the game.

As the rain continued, in the seventh inning, Schwellenbach launched what was the hardest hit ball of the night down the left field line. It would be ruled a fair ball from the umpire behind home plate. After his at-bat, the game was called off because of the weather.

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“I didn’t think it was too safe to be honest, but we powered through it,” Pewitt said. “We gave up a four spot in the last inning. It was tough. Our guys could barely see the ball, but we powered through and they called it.”

BBS 355 021 1 17 17 0
WCW 210 103 4 11 11 0

W- Matthew Meskin, L- Blake Wells, HR- Conner VanCleave, Mason Schwellenbach (2), Michael Fuhrman, Bryson Ford, Keegan Sueltz (2), Jackson Pokorney, Robbie Merced, and Lucas Allen.

BBS: Ryan Walstad 2-4, 2R, R, BB; Michael Fuhrman 2-3, 2R, 2RBI, HR, BB; Bryson Ford 2-4, 3R, 4RBI, HR; Conner VanCleave 3-5, 2R, 2R, 3RBI, HR; Mason Schwellenbach 3-5, 2R, 4RBI, 2HR; Kaimana Souza Paaluhi 2-3, R, RBI, BB; Matthew Meskin 5IP, 5H 4ER 3BB, 6K; Matt Burley 2IP 6H, 5ER, K. WCW: Keegan Sueltz 2-4, 2R, 2RBI, 2HR; Jackson Pokorney 2-4 R, 2RBI, HR, Robbie Merced 1-4, 2R, 3RBI, HR, Lucas Allen 2-3, R, 2RBI, HR, Blake Wells 4IP, 11H, 13ER, 4BB, 2K; Sam Larson 6H, 4ER, BB, K.

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