Roughriders’ season ends at the hands of Fargo Post 2
The double-elimination tournament format gave both teams a chance to redeem themselves after an opening round loss.
It was a win-or-go-home scenario between the Dickinson Roughriders and Fargo Post 2 in the North Dakota American Legion AA state tournament Wednesday morning.
Matching up on the losing side of the bracket, the winner would advance to play on Thursday and keep their hopes of a state title alive.
It was Fargo Post 2, after being upset by Fargo Post 400 in their opening game, that would live to see another day as they defeated the Roughriders 4-1 to end their season.
It was a tough draw for Dickinson, the six seed, facing off against the two seed Fargo Post 2, but as Roughriders’ head coach Tyler Frenzel said before the tournament, it’s anyone's game to win, regardless of seed.
Both Dickinson and Fargo had five hits on the day, but it was the latter who were able to capitalize with runners in scoring position and take advantage of scoring opportunities given to them.
“They had the timely hits,” Frenzel said. “We hit a couple balls hard in the gap that hung up in the wind and it was the difference.”
Isaac Daley was the Roughrider pitcher in the final game of the season and went all six innings, giving up four runs and striking out two. Fargo were able to consistently apply pressure to the southpaw on the mound as they had runners on base in each inning except for the first.
Fargo scored first, a fielder’s choice RBI in the second, to take a 1-0 lead. Dickinson wouldn’t respond until the fourth inning when Kaeden Krieg sent Troy Berg home for the lone run in the game for the Roughriders.
It was 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Fargo had runners on second and third when a balk was called on Daley to advance both runners as Fargo took a 2-1 lead. A sacrifice fly to right field made it 3-1 as Dickinson were three innings away from their season ending.
Fargo tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth as center fielder Nathaniel Jilek made a diving effort to the ball but was unable to make the play as the runner from second base scored, making it 4-1.
They almost put up more runs in the bottom of the sixth as they loaded the bases with one out, but a ground ball back to Daley ended the inning as the force outs at home and first base secured the double play.
It led to one last chance for the Roughriders to keep their season alive in the top of the seventh. There was a glimmer of hope as they had runners on first and second with one out, but back-to-back flyouts ended the game and their hopes for a fourth state title.
After the game Frenzel praised the two seniors on the team, Jilek and Riley O’Donnell for their contributions to the team over the years.
“He (Jilek) is an incredible kid,” Frenzel said. “He understands hard work and has a passion for the game. ... Riley was new to the team last year and couldn’t be more happy to have him. I asked him to be our catcher this year and he stepped up. ... both were leaders this year and did good things for our ball club.”
Dickinson finishes the season 13-18-1 overall and was the first team eliminated from the state tournament.