Smooth operators

Dickinson High senior Michael Steve can resort back to his closer mentality whenever he feels the need. The closer-turned-starter walked five batters against Bismarck Century on Tuesday, but buckled down with runners in scoring position. Steve co...

T.J. Dempsey
Press Photo by Chris Aarhus Dickinson High junior right fielder T.J. Dempsey, right, slides back to first, beating a pick-off attempt by Bismarck Century pitcher Hunter Johnson, not pictured, while Century first baseman Carson Wentz, left, tries to apply the tag during Tuesday's West Region baseball game at Southside Municipal Ballpark.

Dickinson High senior Michael Steve can resort back to his closer mentality whenever he feels the need.

The closer-turned-starter walked five batters against Bismarck Century on Tuesday, but buckled down with runners in scoring position. Steve combined with reliever Cole Frenzel on a three-hit shutout as the Midgets improved to 3-0 in the West Region with a 4-0 victory in their home opener at Southside Municipal Ballpark.

"It's nice to go 3-0 in the conference," Steve said. "We're a pretty confident team right now with our sticks and our gloves. This just keeps our confidence up."

While Steve allowed just two hits in 6Zc innings, he allowed a base runner every inning but the fifth when he retired the side in order.

In the fourth, Century had the bases loaded with one out thanks to a single and two walks. Then, Century No. 7 hitter Aric Heinert hit a grounder back to Steve, who threw it home for the first out. Catcher Conner McNeilly then fired it to first for the inning-ending double play.


That marked the only time a Century runner reached third base. Steve eventually picked up the win, striking out two and hitting one batter.

"It's frustrating sometimes," Steve said. "You have to come back and have a short memory. If you keep thinking about it, it'll just keep piling on."

Dobitz said spending time as the team's closer has helped Steve as a starter. He set the school record for saves in a season with seven last year.

"I think he's mentally tough," Dobitz said. "You saw when they got on first or second, he really (bore) down and threw good pitches. It's tough in a seven-inning game to have that (closer) mentality all of the time.

"It's nice to be able to switch it on when you need it."

Frenzel relieved Steve in the top of the seventh with one out and allowed a hit to Heinert before striking out Justin Ledger and catching a hot liner off the bat of Erik Peterson to end the game. The two pitchers held down the fort while Dickinson's offense did its best to manufacture runs.

Scoreless going into the bottom of the fourth, the game saw its first run when Frenzel doubled to get on and Tommy Peters reached on an error, moving Frenzel to third. Peters took off for second base on a steal attempt and Frenzel was able to slide safely into home without a throw.

Dobitz said getting that first run was key as Century is a young team with only four seniors.


"When you're playing a team that's got a bunch of sophomores, if you can get ahead, it puts more pressure on young kids," Dobitz said. "They may not be experienced enough to battle back. We wanted that first run and we worked hard to get that run."

In the fifth, Frenzel drilled a two-run double to extend the lead, and Ryan Jones crossed home plate in the sixth on a single by Caleb Burgard to cap the scoring.

Century starter Hunter Johnson took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings of work. He walked four and struck out four.

"Hunter gave us a chance on the hill," Century co-coach Mike Gustavvson said. "We made some early mistakes. We've got a lot of young kids playing. ... We're getting better."

Frenzel and junior Stephen Laylock each went 2-for-3 and every Dickinson batter reached base.

Steve said the win is that much better because it was in front of the home crowd. The Midgets weren't able to play in Dickinson until Tuesday because of snow on the ground.

"It's fun to get back in Dickinson," Steve said. "To get a win in front of the home crowd is really exciting."

Century 8, Dickinson 1


Bismarck Century earned a split in the doubleheader, though it doesn't count toward the conference standings.

Tied 1-1 after two innings, the Patriots got to Dickinson reliever Tim Rocha and scored three runs each in the next two innings. Rocha was tagged with the loss while Heinert notched the victory for Century.

Century was led at the plate by Carson Wentz, who finished 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI.

Burgard paced the Midgets, going 1-for-1 with a stolen base.

Dickinson 4, Bismarck Century 0

BC 000 000 0 -- 0 3 2

DHS 000 121 x -- 4 8 0

Hunter Johnson, Matt Stoehr (6) and Justin Ledger. Michael Steve, Cole Frenzel (7) and Connor McNeilly. W-Steve. L-Johnson.


Highlights: BC, Hunter Johnson 1-for-2, BB, SB; Greg Hilzendeger 1-for-3, Erik Peterson 1-for-4; D, Cole Frenzel 2-for-3, 2 2Bs, 2 RBI; Stephen Laylock 2-for-3; Michael Steve 6Zc IP, 0 R, 2H, 5 BB, 1 HB, 2 K; Caleb Burgard 1-for-3, RBI, BB; McNeilly 1-for-3; Eric Seiler 1-for-3, SAC, run; TJ Dempsey 1-for-1, 2 BB, run.

Century 8, Dickinson 1

BC 013 31 -- 8 6 0

DHS 010 00 -- 1 5 1

Dan Bihrle, Aric Heinert (3), Justin Ledger (5) and Erik Peterson. Kyle Breen, Tim Rocha (3), Ross Kovacs (4) and McNeilly and Breen (3). W-Heinert. L-Rocha.

Highlights: BC, Carson Wentz 2-for-3, 2B, 4 RBI. D, Burgard 1-for-1, SB.

Records: Dickinson 5-1 overall, 3-0 West Region.


Cole Frenzel
Press Photo by Chris Aarhus Dickinson High senior third baseman Cole Frenzel, left, makes a leaping catch while shortstop Kyle Breen gets in on the play Tuesday.

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