Dickinson pulls off 6-3 win over Wahpeton to keep state title dream alive
JAMESTOWN — It wasn't the smoothest of wins from the Midgets, but they live to fight another day at The North Dakota High School Athletic Association baseball state tournament.
The tourney featured tremendous play by many teams on day one, but Dickinson and Wahpeton weren't among those games. Thursday afternoon's pairing featured a combined nine errors in a game pitting the Western Dakota Association regular season title holders and west region's No. 3 seed, Dickinson, and their eastern opponents in No. 2 seeded Wahpeton.
Dickinson went toe-to-toe against the young and scrappy Huskies, who just fell short of the critical hits needed in a 6-3 Midgets win.
“It wasn’t easy,” head coach Pete Dobitz said. “The wind played such a mental part of the game, offensively especially, but we were able to grind through it, that's the big thing.”
Dickinson had two hits over Wahpeton with eight, but also accumulated three errors more than their opponents with six.
It stayed at a deadlock for the first three innings, until Dickinson got a runner to cross the plate from a fielder's choice hit with bases loaded. In the fifth inning, the Midget lead extended 4-0, including a suicide squeeze resulting in two runs.
“Usually you are only able to get one run in, but I had aggressive runner in Isaac Daley on second base and as he rounded third and I could see that the throw was gonna go to first I told him to keep going and we were able to get two runs out of it and that was big for us,” said Dobitz.
Wahepeton attempted a rally in the fifth and sixth inning and took advantage of Dickinson errors, cutting the deficit to 4-3 going into the final inning. Daley cemented the Midgets’ win with a two-run homer run in their final offensive frame.
Seniors Daley and Drew Kovash made an impact in the batter’s box, Daley went 2-for-3 at bat with two RBIs and runs each. Kovash had the same at bat count and collected an RBI. Troy Berg also did good work in his base running and tied Kovash in stolen bases with two.
Daley had a good outing on defense and was part of eight putouts, tallying two assists and six putouts. This included a wonderful vertical jump lineout at first base.
“He had a really good day on both the stick and with the glove and on the base path, but that is what we ask out of our seniors.,” Dobitz said. “Our seniors pretty much calmed the boys down and kept the grind going.”
Dobitz praised his pitching staff that included two of his seniors, Kovash and Carson Weiler and junior Jadon Bast. Kovash started and claimed the win with four strikeouts and not allowing a run. Bast came on in relief from leftfield and though the save was nearly blown under his watch, only one run was earned out of the three. Closing the door was Weiler who tallied two strikeouts in the final inning. The three pitchers totalled seven Ks.
“Jadon Bast kept us in the game,” Dobitz said. “I kept his pitch count down so if I would happen to need him tomorrow. I am hoping to keep him until Saturday.”
Shanley will be Dickinson’s opponents in the semifinal after the No. 4 east team brought down WDA champions Bismarck Century in a 4-1 quarter final. Dobitz said that they will need to clean up their errors to continue their success in the tourney.
“Jamestown is one of the few facilities that still has natural grass and we play on turf at home,” Dobitz said. “Guys don't think about it, they think a ground ball is a ground ball, but when you have been doing this as long as I have you know that it is not. It is a completely different approach to fielding a ground ball. We have talked about it, but we are going to have to continue talking about it.”