Badlands Big Sticks host friendly get-together at Astoria Field

·5 min read

May 22—DICKINSON — It's time for baseball fans to cheer loudly and carry the Badlands Big Sticks to another solid season on the Western Edge. The 2023 season begins Tuesday, May 23, but before tomorrow's game the team and organization hosted a gathering at Dakota Community Bank and Trust Ballpark on Sunday that was free for attendees.

While the entire team wasn't available due to other commitments, and manager Jordan Price — who served as pitching coach last season — is away coaching high school in Colorado as they compete in the state playoffs, fans had a chance to enjoy the concession stand, watch a little practice and buy some gear to get ready for the new season.

"Obviously, it's a bit chaotic every year but it's a lot of fun-chaos, is what it is," Big Sticks owner Dave Ouellette said. He has owned the club for the past five years. "I just love being here and seeing all of the fun that the families get to have when they come down here with the kids."

Ouellette added, "We're very passionate about the ballpark, about the facility and giving the fans, the players and the teams from other states and other cities just the best possible experience they can have at a ballpark. You come down here to our concession stand and all we hear is that every tournament should be held here because of the concession operation that we have. You don't have to go out of the ballpark and eat supper or lunch or whatever... because we have the option of every type of food you could want."

For their part, the team was excited to be back at the ballpark, some of whom haven't been gone for that long since their last visit. Dickinson State University Blue Hawks shortstop Balas Buckmaster, for example, will be joining the Big Sticks for the summer, having most recently appeared in the North Star Athletic Association's postseason tournament on May 7.

"It's pretty cool. I hear it's a good atmosphere here so I'm ready for the experience," said Buckmaster, who is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. "I'm just here to have fun."

DSU Assistant Coach Cameron Guevara also is a part of the Blue Hawks program in the same role as assistant coach. The Big Sticks have given him an opportunity to be part of the program for the last two seasons, and it's just another way to remain close to the game for him.

"It's comfortable, obviously, and I enjoy being in Dickinson 100%," Guevara said. "I mean, it's a great community and a great ballpark to be a part of and every summer to be able to come out here and see new guys and meet new kids and kind of grow myself and well as grow them, I mean, there's nothing better than that, personally."

But Guevara isn't the only returning DSU representative, with Kobe Krenz also returning to the team and he will be joined by first-year Dickinson products Isaac Daley and Troy Berg.

In addition to Krenz, other returning players include pitchers Moses Dokes, Logan Fragomeni, Braxton Greenburg, Garret Lundmark and Calvin Watkins, who are joined by catcher Danny Rodgers, infielder Alex Urlaub and outfielders Cam Credeur and Quade Peters. The full roster is available on the website for fans to become familiar with throughout the season.

The first series of the season will feature a three-game homestand versus the Spearfish (SD) Sasquatch from Tuesday to Thursday with games starting at 6:20 p.m. before the Big Sticks hit the road to play at the Oahe (SD) Zap before a return-engagement at home against the Zap next week from May 30 to June 1.

The Sasquatch gave Badlands a run for their money last season in the Independence League, upending the Big Sticks in the playoffs. The Independence League also features the Sawtooth Sockeyes out of Idaho and Wyoming's Casper Spuds, along with the Freemont Moo, Hastings Sodbusters and Nebraska Prospects. Last-season's champions, the Western Nebraska Pioneers, left the league to play their own independent schedule.

"It's good to finally have players in town, that's always the first part, obviously, we're going to be short-handed the first couple of weeks because other guys are still playing school ball — which is good, you know, because they're coming from good programs — so we were able to pick up Troy Berg and Isaac Daley, who are two Dickinson kids that are going to fill in 'til American Legion starts," Big Sticks General Manager Jason Watson said. "It's finally here, after about nine months of preparation ... we get to flip the lights on and play for real.

Watson added, "We've got some talented guys here and one pickup, Balas Buckmaster, had a tremendous year for DSU ... and we're glad he took the spot."

Individual, single-game tickets are on sale now at $11 for standard reserved seating and $8 for general admission, with VIP single-game tickets running at $125 for a table of two, while children 3-years-old and younger get in the ballpark free. Reserved-seat season tickets are $352 and general admission season tickets are $256.

"We're just looking forward to sunny weather and an awesome summer in Dickinson, North Dakota," Ouellette said.

For more information about the Badlands Big Sticks, please continue reading The Dickinson Press and/or visit

Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark is located at 240 2nd Street SE in Dickinson.