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Going, going, going, gone, gone, gone: Three home runs help Badlands run up score against Wheat City

For the second straight game, Mason Schwellenbach hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. His bomb to left field was part of a seven-run inning and a 15-9 win over Wheat City on Friday, June 14, at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Bal...

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Badlands Centerfielder Nathan Sanders celebrates a three-run home run in the first inning against the Whiskey Jacks on Friday, June 14, at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

For the second straight game, Mason Schwellenbach hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first.

His bomb to left field was part of a seven-run inning and a 15-9 win over Wheat City on Friday, June 14, at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.

Schwellenbach's dinger was one of five on the night, three coming from the home team.

"Out of the gate, just looking (for a) fastball right away because the pitcher doesn't really know what I like to swing at right away," the designated hitter said. "I just kind of get my pitch. I hit a curveball out this game, but (Thursday) I hit a fastball."

As part of the long and productive opening frame, following an RBI single from shortstop Anthony Garrett and an error that allowed catcher Ryan Gross to reach, No. 9 hitter Nate Sanders mirrored Schwellenbach's homer to left, burying the ball in the bushes at the wall.

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In the seventh, right fielder Bryson Ford brought home third baseman Garrett Dupuis with a two-out, two-run shot to you guessed it, the left field bushes, bringing the score to 15-4.

Badlands leads the Expedition League with 18 home runs.

While Badlands head coach Hayden Pewitt is proud of leading a power-hitting team for a second straight year, he's most impressed with its balance.

"I feel like we're a little deeper than last year. We had three, four guys in the middle that really bopped," Pewitt said. "This year, Nate in the nine-hole has been killing it. I think we got a deeper lineup this year and yeah, we find a lot of barrel and swing it and it's fun to watch."

Schwellenbach, who plays for Central Methodist University (Mo.), leads the Big Sticks with six home runs and seven doubles.

"Before I came here, probably (I identified) as a pitcher," Schwellenbach said. "Right now, I kind of got some forearm problems, so I've been just hitting. I'm good at both, but if I had to choose one, I'd probably pitch more."

His ability to be a dual threat has aided the Big Sticks, but Pewitt said his demeanor is another strength.

"Honestly, his carefree attitude. He can strike out and he's gonna come back in the dugout and talk to somebody about it and learn from it," Pewitt said. "Every at-bat he gets better. Same thing on the mound, he's probably our most-talented guy by a long way on the mound and at the plate. He learns from his mistakes and he gets better from it."

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In the third, Whiskey Jacks No. 5 hitter Lucas Allen hit a two-run blast just over the wall and out of reach of left fielder Gabe Knowles. First baseman Keegan Sueltz smacked one to left-center to plate three runs, aiding a four-run effort in the top of the eighth.

While they were hardly outhit, 18-14, the Whiskey Jacks stranded 11 batters, which led to their demise.

"All season, we've been working on it. Last time we were here, we did a better job, but we're leaving way too many guys on base in big situations," Wheat City head coach Grant Hamilton said. "We're striking out way too much. Just got to do the little things right, have a little bit of selfless at-bats and put the ball in play to get a run in. Guys are just trying to do too much."

Badlands Big Sticks 15, Wheat City Whiskey Jacks 9

WCW 012 010 041 - 9 14 2

BBS 705 000 30X - 15 18 1

WCW, Cole Torgerson (2), Mitchell Trenka (3.1), Chase Meilleur (2.2) and Austin Trahan. BBS, Joel Torres (5), Brock Rountree (1), Jack Zalasky (2), Michael Reddick (1) and Ryan Gross.

W-Torres. L-Torgerson. HR-BBS, Mason Schwellenbach, Nathan Sanders, Bryson Ford. WCW, Lucas Allen, Keegan Sueltz.

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Highlights: WCW, Sueltz 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI; Cody Kehl 3-6, 2B, 2 R; Allen 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI; Trenka 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 4 K. BBS, Bryson Ford 3-5, HR, 3B, R, 2 RBI; Sanders 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI; Schwellenbach 1-5, HR, R, 2 RBI; Anthony Garrett 3-5, 3-5, R; Ryan Gross 3-5, 2B, 3 R; Torres 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R 94 ER), 3 BB, 3K; Rountree 1 IP, 4 BB, 2 K; Zalasky 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K; Reddick 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER).

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