Jul. 19—A spectacular night for local baseball fans that got the chance to witness the Big Sticks rally for an extra inning walk off from a three-run homer — and free ice cream at the Dakota Community Bank and Trust ballpark. Their opponents, Canyon County Spuds put up a fight all 10 innings , but it would be the home side to triumph in the 10-7 victory.
With the series split down the middle, the Big Sticks came back to their home diamond to settle the series one way or the other. Game three began Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
The first run would come quickly for the Spuds, but the inning would end soon after, with Lucas Danielwicz grounder leading to a fielder's choice for the third putout.
Joe Osborn was back to the top of the lineup, but would also be the first putout in a three up, three down inning.
In the second both sides brought in a serious amount of runs. Canyon County would grab a free run from a bases loaded walk and then batter Joey Grabanski would hit a grand slam to bring the sixth run and for the Big Sticks to go to the bullpen to bring in Brady Salyards for Kenny Stewart.
At the bottom, the Badlands would put in work themselves to reduce the deficit to two. Catcher Ryan Stafford hit a two-run double to bring in Travis Ray Jr and Austin Bunn.
Salyards would be on the mound for the bulk of the game facing 18 batters and shutout the Spuds up until the sixth inning. Salyards would strikeout five batters and would allow only four hits with one run.
The Big Stick would be unable to get past the Spuds defense until the fifth inning where they would rally for the lead. Back to top of the list Osborn knocks an early double, followed by a single from Lundmark , advancing Osborn to third. With two runners on bags Angel De La Cruz steps into the batter's box with a chance to shine where he shines brightest by bringing runners in.
Sure enough De La Cruz singled a centered line drive to bring in both Osborn and Lundmark. Spuds would go to the bullpen, but would be too little too late as De La Cruz would be brought in by Travis Ray Jr. for the lead.
In the sixth Canyon County would grab another home run to tie up the game. Justin Butz would relieve Salyards at the top of the seventh and would be the winning pitcher of the game shutting down the opposition with six strikeouts in four innings with only one hit and one walk.
In the ninth Badlands Big Sticks owner, David Outllette promises free ice cream if the Big Sticks pull off a walk off. Both sides would play 1-2-3 innings leading to a 10th to determine the outcome of the game and the free ice cream situation.
Both sides started with a runner on second, Spuds chose Owen Bischoff while the Big Sticks had Lundmark on the bag.
Butz would deliver three strikeouts in a row to give the Badlands their final chance for a walk off.
Marcus Hughes would bat emplacement of De La Cruz and hit a single, Lundmark advances to third. After that, Texan Eric Martinez stepped to the plate with the desire to put this game to rest. Martinez knocks it deep past the fence and grabs a three-run dinger walk off and the crowd goes wild — and screams for ice cream.
"It is just unbelievable, great for the guys, great for Eric, just awesome," head coach Billy Tomblin said. "We came out on top because at the end of the day our guy embraced the moment and handled his business and took care of it for us."
The Big Sticks players took to the field and to crowded around Martinez as he returned to home plate, they dumped a cooler of water on him in celebration of their rally victory to take the series.
Up next is the All Star games, The Badlands will have the most players participating with eight. The playoffs are still 17 games away but Tomblin has lots of confidence in his team that keeps swinging until the final inning.
"We are a long way from being a guarantee in the playoffs, but if we keep playing the quality baseball like tonight, I think we will have the opportunity to be there," Tomblin said.