Big Sticks triumphant in two of three games in Spearfish
DICKINSON – After launching out the gates in a three-game sweep of the Spearfish Sasquatch to begin the season, the undefeated Badlands Big Sticks hit the road for a three game series against the Sasquatch in Spearfish.
By series end the Big Sticks held a 5-1 record on the year, winning two out of three games in a blend of offensive firepower and a lights out rotation and bullpen.
Kicking off their three-game away series on Friday, May 27, the Big Sticks secured an easy 13-4 in a game that didn’t begin until 8 p.m. due to inclement weather. The rain couldn’t extinguish the Big Sticks’ bats as both teams scored their highest point totals despite the nearly two-hour delayed start that didn’t end until May 28, shortly after midnight.
Big Sticks coaches experimented with their rotation, testing different pitchers throughout the three-game series with Justin Butz starting.
Butz would allow 3 hits, 2 runs and 3 walks through five in a performance that witnessed the young ace retire 10, courtesy of the McKinney, TX native’s two seam fastball. He completed his pitching performance by bringing his ERA to a 3.60 on the season.
Logan Fragomeni would be called in from the pen for the remaining four innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 runs and 3 walks.
Cade Ostenson and Quade Peters contributed 3 runs in the game, while Jack Luster and Jayden Gibson tallied 2 runs for the Big Sticks. Carson Lundmark’s 1 run and 3 RBI’s highlight an early season batting average of .563. The majority of runs for the Big Sticks would come in the third and fifth innings, with the fourth, sixth and ninth seeing no runs scored on either side.
A relentless pitching combination, in conjunction with an unstoppable offensive output that saw bloopers land where defenders weren’t, allowed the Big Sticks to dominate Spearfish for the fourth consecutive game.
Game five would again see Spearfish be blown out as the Big Sticks clinched their fifth consecutive win with a final score of 4-0.
Big Sticks pitcher Jonathan Lerma utterly dominated the mound, shutting down all offense and allowing no runs on 3 hits, with 2 walks over five innings. Following Lerma, Daniel Rivera would toe the rubber for his second appearance of the season. He pitched for one inning, but would keep Spearfish in the no hit column while ringing up 2 batters with off-speed beauty. Eric Kessler would close for the Big Sticks, going three innings and allowing no hits or runs while tallying his own 5 K’s on the night.
Lundmark and Derrick Calvillo ruled the roost on the offensive side, each scoring a run. Calvillo’s equal number of RBI’s to strike outs, at two each, signaled the big hitter’s wildcard plate appearances on the season. Peters, Ostenson, Cory Brownson and Nathaniel Jilik were key role players in the game, getting points on the board in tandem.
In their sixth matchup against Spearfish, and the final game of three on the road, was the first blemish on an otherwise perfect start out of the gates for the Big Sticks. The Sasquatch would clench a narrow and exciting 4-3 victory, capitalizing on Lundmark’s troubles at the plate. The star player would leave the field with no runs, no hits, no RBI’s and no walks with 5 plate appearances.
Spearfish pitcher Connor Jones highlighted a deep repertoire of pitches, mixing off-speed with fastballs, before closing the door with a signature slider. The result was an unusually high strikeout ratio for the Sticks, who saw the Sasquatch take an early 2-0 lead. The Big Sticks didn’t make an appearance on the scoreboard until the second inning of a game that saw both teams struggle to make a move offensively. The slow game placed the 325 dedicated fans in attendance to sleep under gloomy skies until the Big Sticks regained the momentum in the sixth inning, scoring two runs to give them a 3-2 lead.
Spearfish’s drought would continue as they would go three more innings without scoring opportunities until the eighth inning when they found some success, bringing two across home plate to take a 4-3 lead.
With a final inning to make a comeback, the Big Sticks crumbled under the pressure and awakened fans to go 1, 2 and 3 to end the game.
The Big Sticks’ next 3-game series will be at home where they will take on the Horseheads, who are coming off of a 17-7 win against the Sodbusters on May 29.