Short end of the stick: Badlands drop marathon game to Souris Valley, fall to Hub City the next night
Tied at nine with two outs gone in the top of the tenth, Badlands Big Sticks shortstop Wyatt Setian caught a throw from catcher Brayden Olson, dropping his glove in one smooth motion to tag out Souris Valley's Brock Baughcum as he slid into second.
While a record crowd of nearly 900 fans erupted in cheers, expecting the inning to be over, the infield umpire ruled Baughcum safe.
Three pitches later, Sabre Dogs batter, Justin Glover, hit a two-run home run to put Souris Valley on top 11-9.
Knowing the controversial call would have prevented the home run, Setian expressed his frustration, leading to an ejection. Badlands head coach Hayden Pewitt also disagreed with the call, as well as his players ejection, prompting the ump to dismiss him as well.
To make matters worse, Setian had been hot at the plate, hitting a homerun and a double earlier in the matchup. Had he been at the plate in extra innings, maybe things would have ended differently, but the Sabre Dogs emerged victorious, winning 12-11 on Wednesday, July 4, at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
"Every call is important. We can't get too involved with the umpires. It's baseball," stand-in head coach Conner Boyd said. "Missed calls happen every single day, you just got to find a way to go on to the next one."
The Big Sticks (18-15) tied the game in the bottom of the 10th with RBIs from Jake Thurber and Christian Padilla. Following a scoreless 11th inning, the Sabre Dogs jumped out again with a lead-off solo shot from Alex Hay in the 12th.
Catcher Ben Thoma kicked off the bottom of the inning with a single, followed by a put out of Eli Jung, who replaced Setian in the lineup. Chasen Roulhac drew a walk, pushing Thoma to third for Aaron Fritts.
Fritts previously hit a three-run bomb to left center to tie the game at three in the fifth, but he struck out on a full count, ending the contest.
Home runs were a theme on the night, with Thurber and Padilla adding to the Big Sticks tally. Additionally, Mason Dinesen, Chauncey Callier sent balls out of the park along with teammates Hay and Glover.
The biggest difference was Badlands leaving 18 men on base, while the Sabre Dogs (25-9) abandoned just six.
"We need to score those runs when guys get on base," shortstop Christian Padilla said. "Those are just opportunities missed. We need to capitalize on those. Eighteen guys left on, that's too much. We need to figure out a way to get guys over and get timely hits to score more runs."
Both Setian and Pewitt also sat out Thursday against the Hub City Hotshots (14-21).
"Wyatt's nice and short, he's got a good glove, it would have been nice to have him back," Padilla said, who took Setian's spot on the field. "Pewitt, being gone, he's vocal. He's a good presence in the dugout to have, so missing him ... I think it affected us a tad."
A five-run second inning propelled the Hotshots to an 11-8 victory, as the Big Sticks dropped their fourth game in a row.
The success prompted an early Badlands pitching change. Dakota Weindel came in to replace starter Matt Henckel after the seventh batter of the second inning.
Weindel gave up three runs on six hits over five innings while striking out three.
Joe Smith threw two innings, giving up two more runs while striking out two and Benson Kramer closed it out with one hit allowed in the ninth.
"We were constantly pitching behind the count and (giving away) a lot of free bases," Boyd said. "It's just not a good recipe on the mound. But, you got to give offense a lot of credit."
While the Big Sticks pitching never truly settled in, the Hotshot hurlers were comfortable all evening.
Starter Brady Mello lasted four innings, giving up four runs on four hits. Reliever Noah Soltero stepped in for four innings, striking out seven batters, earning the win.
"We needed those guys to each go four innings, that was kind of our plan," Hub City head coach Jacob Jarreau said. "They did a good job of attacking early, getting the first out of the inning, minimizing damage for the most part. ... I'm really happy with the way the pitching was, MVP tonight."
Hub City Hotshots 11, Badlands Big Sticks 8
HCH 150 120 020 — 11 15 3
BBS 120 100 031 — 8 10 1
HCH: Brady Mello (4.0), Noah Soltero (4.0), Hunter Koep (1.0) and Nick Emanuel. BBS: Matt Henckel (1.0), Dakota Weindel (5.0), Joe Smith (2.0), Benson Kramer (1.0) and Ben Thoma.
W—Soltero. L—Henckel. S-Koep HR—BBS: Thoma, Kaleb Binstock.
Highlights: HCH: Daniel Rodriguez 3-5, BB, R; Anthony Guzman 1-4, 2B, BB, 3 RBI; Jake Malec 2-6, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R; Mello 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K. BBS: Auggie Francis 4-5, 2B, RBI, R; Gabe Knowles, 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI, R; Binstock 1-3, HR, BB, 3 RBI, R; Henckel 1 IP, 5 H, 6 R (6 ER), 5 BB, 2 K; Weindel 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K; Smith 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 K; Kramer 1 IP, 1 H.
Souris Valley Sabre Dogs 12, Badlands Big Sticks 11 (12 innings)
SVS 200 012 003 201 — 12 18 2
BBS 000 052 011 200 — 11 17 1
Jesse Ellefson (5), DJ Lewis (3), Seth Kuykendall (4) and Alex Hay. Clay Wilson (5.2), Cort Dietrich (1.2), Kaleb Binstock (2.1), Gabe Lizarraga (2) and Brayden Olson.
W—Kuykendall. L—Lizarraga. HR—BBS, Aaron Fritts, Jake Thurber, Wyatt Setian, Christian Padilla. SVS, Chauncey Callier, Mason Dinesen, Hay, Justin Glover.
Highlights: SVS, Clay Ashworth 3-5, 2B, 2 R; Jack Schuler 3-5, 1 R; Kuykendall 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 5 BB, 3 K. BBS, Thurber 3-6, HR, 1 R, 3 RBI; Fritts 2-6, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI; Padilla 2-3, HR, 1 R, 2 RBI; Setian 2-2, HR, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI; Drew Staley 2-6, 1 R; Chasen Roulhac 2-7, 1 RBI; Auggie Francis 1-4, 2 R; Brayden Olson 1-5; Deandre Pitts, 1-6, 1 R; Ben Thoma 1-1; Wilson 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 4 K; Dietrich 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K; Binstock 2.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 4 K; Lizarraga 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 K.