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Maier dazzles as Dickinson drops season opener to Williston

The Dickinson High baseball team wasn't supposed to start its season at home, but the Midgets' contest at Bismarck earlier in the week was cancelled. So, the first pitch of the Midgets season came at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark aga...

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Dickinson High junior Kobe Krenz looks to tag a Williston baserunner as he tries to steal second on Tuesday, April 2, at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson High baseball team wasn't supposed to start its season at home, but the Midgets' contest at Bismarck earlier in the week was cancelled. So, the first pitch of the Midgets season came at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark against Williston.

Despite dropping the non-conference games 9-5 and 9-4 to the Coyotes on Tuesday, April 2, and in spite of the cold, the Midgets were still thrilled to be on the diamond.

"It's great. It's been a while since we've all been out here," Dickinson senior Cody Maier said. "It's time to get used to being out here again."

The Dickinson offense might have been minimal, and the defense certainly has work to do, but Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz had all good things to say about the start of the season.

"It'll all come. We never hang our hat on game one or game two," Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz said. "I'll say that all the way up to game 10 or 11, you want to be your best at the end of the year. We have preached that from day one, that we progressively get better, so at the end of the year we're ready for those tournaments."

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Scoring in all but the seventh inning of game one, Williston consistently put up runs, but only earned six hits. The rest of the bases were free, two due to errors, nine by way of walk, and six coming from hit batters. Beating the odds, junior Garret Hill was beaned three times, by three different Dickinson throwers.

One way or another, the Coyotes lead-off batter got on base in every inning, aside from the fourth.

"There are some tough outs in our lineup and we want to be that way and have guys on base and just continue to drive some guys in," Williston head coach Aaron Finders said.

Meanwhile, Dickinson came up with seven hits in game one, two off the bat of Maier. Maier was the only Midget to record multiple hits in both contests. He went 4-for-8 on the evening, using a first-pitch bomb to right field to double in the sixth inning of game two.

"I just keep it simple and try to hit the ball hard every time, and don't overcomplicate what I'm trying to do up there," Maier said.

Defensively, Maier was on first base for game one, making impressive leaps and jumps to collect the ball and turn the out. On one occasion, he leaped high into the air, coming far off the bag, but he was quick to turn and tag the incoming runner, rather than scramble back to the bag.

The highlight of the first game for the Midgets came in the fourth inning. After senior Justin Berger singled, freshman Isaac Daley was hit and sophomore Alden Hoerner walked, Kobe Krenz came up to the plate with two outs.

On the first pitch, the junior hit a deep double to score all three runners, bringing the score to 7-3. Next, junior Joey Pavek reaches on an error to score Krenz.

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An RBI bunt from Landon Aman added another run for Dickinson in the fifth, but that's all the offense that would punch through for the home team.

The second game passed in a similar fashion, with the boys in orange providing the most offense in the fourth.

After lead-off batter Dawson Dassinger struck out, Maier poked the ball into the gap in left-center for a single. As freshman Troy Berg was hit by a pitch, he pushed Maier to second, who proceeded to steal third before sophomore Nick Deschamp went down swinging.

With two out and two on, junior Isaac Gjerde sent a blooper over the heads of the Coyotes shortstop and second baseman. Maier and Berg, who previously stole second, scored, bringing the score to 8-2.

"Maybe it's just not being ready right off the bat and then getting into the flow of the game, maybe your second at-bat of the game," Dobitz said. "It always gets better the more you see. I was telling our assistant coaches, that you can tell they've played two games already, just by their poise on the field and in the batter's box."

Throughout both contests, Dickinson frequently switched pitchers. Kobe Krenz saw the most time in the nightcap, manning the mound for three innings, allowing a run to score on a pair of hits, while fanning three.

Williston swapped out pitchers in a similar fashion, going through seven total, but game-two starter Jacob Engen stood out among them all. The senior threw four innings, striking out five while allowing two runs on three hits.

"Last year he pitched a little bit with the varsity, but he's pitched all summer and through the winter and his workouts," Finders said. "He's been great. He was awesome today."

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Williston 9, Dickinson 5

W 213 111 0 - 9 6 2

D 000 410 0 - 5 7 2

Chris Sathe (4), Reed Hanson (3) and Jack Heen. Nick Deschamp (1), Dawson Dassinger (1), Joey Pavek (1.2), Isaac Daley (1.2), Troy Berg (2) and Reese Mack.

W-Hanson. L-Berg. HR-None.

Highlights: W, Denver Sheets 2-2, R, RBI; Hanson 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 4 K. D, Kobe Krenz 1-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI; Cody Maier 2-4; Justin Berger 2-4, 2B, 2 R; Landon Aman 2-2, RBI; Deschamp 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 K; Dassinger 1 IP, 1 H, R (1 ER), 2 K, 2 BB; Pavek 1.2 IP, 1 H, 5 R (5 ER), 3 K, 5 BB; Daley 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 1 BB; Berg 2 IP, 2 H, R, BB.

Williston 9, Dickinson 4

W 023 300 1 - 9 9 1

D 000 201 1 - 4 4 3

W, Jake Engen (4), Camdin Miller (1), Zach Carson (0.2), Brady Aberle (0.2), Garrett Hill (0.2) and Jaxon Meyer. D, Justin Berger (2), Dylan Montagner (1), Landon Aman (1), Krenz (3) and Joey PAvek.

W-Miller. L-Krenz. HR-None.

Highlights: W, Chris Sathe 3-5, R, RBI; Engen 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 5 K. D, Maier 2-4, 2B, R; Isaac Gjerde 1-2, 2 RBI; Berger 1-1, 2 IP, 3 H, R (ER), 2 BB; Montagner 2 IP, H, 3 R (1 ER); Aman 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 K, 2 BB; Krenz 3 IP, 2 H, R (ER), 3 K, 3 BB.

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