Midgets take win in extras, split with Braves

Dickinson High School jumped out to a 5-0 lead over Mandan after two innings at Southside Ballpark and Astoria Field. The home finale West Region doubleheader looked like it would be a breeze for the Midgets on a cool, sunny Saturday afternoon. H...

Alex Huschka
Press Photo by Bobby Abplanalp Dickinson senior Alex Huschka rips the game-winning single to score Tanner Hopfauf from third base during the first game of a West Region doubleheader against Mandan on Saturday at Astoria Field and Southside Ballpark.

Dickinson High School jumped out to a 5-0 lead over Mandan after two innings at Southside Ballpark and Astoria Field.

The home finale West Region doubleheader looked like it would be a breeze for the Midgets on a cool, sunny Saturday afternoon.

However, the visiting Braves, despite only having one win on the season coming in, gave Dickinson all it could handle.

The Midgets and Braves split the doubleheader with Dickinson winning Game 1 in eight innings, 7-6, and losing Game 2, 5-0.

"(It's) night and day. We can look really, really good like we did at the beginning of the day," Midgets coach Pete Dobitz said. "That second game, we just never got adjusted to his pitching."


Senior Alex Huschka hit the walk-off RBI single with one out, fittingly on senior day, that sent Tanner Hopfauf home in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Mandan closing pitcher Jared Walters walked Dickinson outfielder Alex Bast. Hopfauf came in to pinch run for Bast. Hopfauf made it to second the next at bat after Mark Erickson's sacrifice bunt, setting up Huschka's game-winning hit.

"I was just going up there (to the plate) and wanted to hit the ball real bad," Huschka said. "Coach (Stephen) Greenwood told me in the dugout, that, I'm getting a walk off. I went up to the plate thinking that's what I was going to do. In my head, I was telling myself, 'I'm getting a hit.' That's when I got it."

Designated hitter James Kary belted a RBI single in the first inning of Game 1 to give Dickinson (9-7, 7-7 West) a 1-0 lead. Midgets' shortstop Dylan Skabo later scored off an errant throw by Mandan catcher Trever Leingang that sailed wide of third base and into the outfield.

In the second inning, Kary kept up his strong play at the plate with a two-run RBI double to center field that allowed him to get to second. The senior kept running and ended up safe at third after Mandan third baseman Brady Zittleman dropped the ball applying the tag.

Kary came home the next at bat when third baseman Luke Herauf hit an RBI single to give the Midgets a 5-0 lead.

"I've been finding my pitches that I can hit well, and I'm kind of starting to turn on pitches and starting to hit balls hard," Kary said.

The Braves continued to hang around, however, scoring runs in the fourth and fifth innings to climb within 5-2.


The Midgets had two outs in the top of the sixth when Mandan's Logan McDowall hit a grounder to first baseman Cole Anderson.

Anderson couldn't get a handle on the ball and McDowall bulled his way to first, scoring another run and making it 5-3. Derik Schaner made Dickinson pay the next at bat with a two-run RBI double to tie it at 5.

Huschka started and was relieved after 5 2/3 innings for Skabo, who got the Midgets out of the inning.

Skabo came up big on offense in the sixth, as he narrowly beat the ball to first for an RBI single. Skabo's hit sent pinch-runner Mitch Mehrer home to put the Midgets back on top, 6-5.

But the Braves (2-10, 2-9 West) wouldn't quit.

Bryce Anderson smacked a hit to right field that went over the outstretched glove of Dickinson's Brady Dutchak to score a run for Mandan in the top of the seventh.

Dickinson closer Erickson did his job in the top of the eighth inning, getting three outs and allowing no runs, setting up Huschka's eighth-inning heroics.

After the emotional win, the Midgets appeared emotionally flat offensively in Game 2.


Braves junior Dylan Scherr got the win on the mound for throwing a two-hitter through seven innings.

Scherr was responsible for Dickinson's offensive inefficiency, as he dominated on the mound.

"We've been doing a lot of different things in practice to try and get the bats going," Dobitz said. "A lot of it is just the mental approach at the plate. We're just not quite there."

The Midgets hit the road for the rest of the season, beginning Tuesday with a doubleheader at Williston. Game 1 will count toward the West standings and first pitch is at 3:30 p.m. MDT.

"I think sometimes, we're not all the way there," Kary said. "It's like we're still kind of goofing off in batting practice. We definitely play our best when we're having fun, but I think sometimes we're too lackadaisical. We just got to find a happy medium in there. We got to get it going."

Mandan 000 113 10 -- 6 9 1

Dickinson 230 001 01 -- 7 8 5

Kyler Vogal, Jared Walters and Trever Leingang. Alex Huschka, Dylan Skabo, Mark Erickson, Erickson and Brady Dutchak. W -- Erickson. L -- Walters.


Highlights: M, Kogan McDowall 2-for-4; Kyler Vogel 2-for-3, BB; Derik Schaner 1-for-4, 3 RBIs. D, Dylan Skabo 3-for-4, RBI; Luke Herauf, 2-for-4, RBI; James Kary 2-for-4, 3 RBIs; Alex Huschka 1-for-4, 3 RBIs.

Dickinson 000 000 0 -- 0 2 0

Mandan 002 003 x -- 5 6 1

Erickson, Kevin Breen and Dutchak. Dylan Scherr and Logan McDowall. W -- Scherr. L -- Erickson.

Highlights: D, Skabo 1-for-3; Kary 1-for-3. M, McDowall 2-for-4, 2 RBIs; Keetan Wanner 1-for-4, 2 RBIs.

Records: D 9-7, 7-7 WR; M 2-10, 2-9.

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