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After starting the season with a 10-2 record, including a nine-game win streak, the Expedition League's Badland Big Sticks have lost seven of their last 11 contests ahead of Thursday's game at Spearfish, S.D. What is surprising, or at least interesting, is that Badlands have conceded roughly the same amount of runs lately as they did earlier in the summer. They allowed 85 in the first 12 games while relinquishing 86 in the past 11. However, the Big Sticks are scoring 35 percent fewer runs within the second stretch, compared to the first.
ABERDEEN, S.D. — With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, Badlands batter Kaleb Binstock hit a grand slam to narrow the Hub City lead to 8-6. However, the Big Sticks couldn't score again and the Hot Shots added three more in the bottom of the eighth en route to a 11-6 win on Wednesday, June 20 at Fossum Field.
BOWMAN — With a top-three finish in four events, including a championship in girls cow cutting, Anna Jorgenson, of Watford City, won the girls All Around title at the North Dakota High School State Finals Rodeo in Bowman on Sunday, June 17. Alongside her cutting victory, Jorgenson also placed second in the reined cow horse competition and finished third in breakaway roping and pole bending. Additionally, her horse, "Metallic Diamond," won the American Quarter Horse Association Horse of the Year.
ABERDEEN, S.D. — If it wasn't for Aaron Fritts, Hub City pitcher Daniel Silva would have tossed a no-hitter. Despite the Badlands batter earning the only two hits for his team, Silva earned the shutout in the Hot Shots 5-0 victory over the Big Sticks on Tuesday, June 19 at Fossum Field. Silva not only went the distance, but he struck out two batters in the final frame, including Fritts who went 2-for-4 on the evening. Over the complete game, his only one of the summer, Silva recorded nine K's while walking one.
The Badlands Big Sticks made back-to-back highlight reel plays in the fifth inning of their 9-3 win over Hastings on Sunday. First, third baseman Drew Staley layed out to keep a hit from Sodbuster Jake Oblas from leaving the infield. Instead of getting the lead runner out at third, he tossed to second baseman Karson Backer for the first out, who then threw to first to get Oblas out. Immediately after, Ryan Koski sent the ball flying, but Badlands right fielder Aaron Fritts leaped to reach over the wall, robbing Koski of a home run and ending the inning.
The Class B State Champion Heart River girls golf team will be at the Lions Club Burgers in the Park event at the South Heart Lions Pavilion on Monday, June 18. The team and coaches will arrive for the meet and greet around 5:15 p.m. for a community celebration of their win at the state championship in Hankinson on May 30.
Jake Thurber is a pitcher's nightmare. At 6-foot-4, the Badlands first baseman looms over the plate and can hit just about anything, earning a base knock in 15 of 18 games played this season. On Thursday, Thurber went 2-for-3, including a solo home run, aiding in the Big Sticks 16-10 win over Casper on June 14 at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. "We competed hard from the beginning which is what we needed to do," said Big Sticks head coach Hayden Pewitt, who previously expressed frustration in his teams starts over the past week.
Over the first three innings between Badlands and Casper, the pitchers controlled the pace. Big Sticks starter Roman Oliu faced the minimum through the first three innings, while Casper thrower Tannar Galey saw no more than five batters. Oliu largely kept pace when Galey ran into trouble in the fifth. Going into the inning, the Horseheads held a 2-1 lead, but Galey allowed three runs. From there, the Badlands bats got hot, eventually winning 10-4 over Casper on Wednesday, June 13 at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
Maybe the Badlands Big Sticks mistreated the baseball gods. Maybe the balls had eyes, or maybe Casper really had that much control. Either way, balls were not falling the right way for the Badlands Big Sticks. Over the first two innings, Horseheads batters got on base with hits just over the infield and in the gaps, putting up eight runs. They added on to the lead in later innings, topping the Big Sticks 15-6 on Tuesday, June 12 at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
Dickinson will host this year's 2018 Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl at 6:00 pm (MST) on Saturday, June 16 at the Henry Biesiot Activities Center. The all-star football game highlights the top high school graduating seniors from Montana vs. North Dakota. Leading up to the game is the Badlands Bowl 5K Run/Walk at 9:00 a.m. and Tailgate at 3:30 p.m.. both at the BAC.