Jul. 8—The Souris Valley Sabre Dogs came to town this week for a quick two-game set with the Big Sticks. Coming into this matchup, Badlands was four games behind the Sabre Dogs in the Lewis division, who lead the division.
It was a battle between the Expedition League's best offense, the Sabre Dogs, against the stingiest defense, the Big Sticks.
Three home runs in the matchup on Tuesday powered the Big Sticks to a 9-2 victory. Matt Olive, Wyatt Setian and Joe Osborn each put a ball over the fence at Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark.
Setian and Osborn's home runs came right after each other in the eight inning. Setian hit a two-run home run while Osborn's was a solo shot.
Badlands didn't put up a run until the fifth inning when Olive hit his solo home run. The Big Sticks still trailed 2-1.
The hosts scored eight runs in the next three innings to win the game. Badlands had ten hits in the game with three different players, Carson Lundmark, Travis Ray Jr. and Setian, having two RBI.
In arguably his best start of the season, Pat Miner went six innings allowing four hits and two runs while striking out five. His ERA of 3.16 is the second-best mark on the team from pitchers who have gone at least 30 innings on the mound.
Osborn's home run, his 10th of the season, is the second most in Expedition League play, two behind Fremont's Brock Reller.
Wednesday's game was more in favor of Souris Valley, who collected 14 hits on their way to a 10-3 victory.
After a shaky second inning from Big Sticks pitcher Adam Senden, where he allowed four runs in the frame, the team settled down to keep the score at 4-0 going into the sixth.
But the Sabre Dogs continued to get hits and would eventually put two runners on base in the sixth to knock Senden out of the game. He finished the game allowing six earned runs and delivering only one strikeout.
The Big Sticks had seven hits themselves but couldn't get the timely hits they needed.
Angel De La Cruz had a two-run home run over the left field wall in the eighth inning to make it 10-3. It was his third home run in the last five games.
Badlands had one last chance for a late rally in the ninth as they loaded the bases with two of their best hitters, Lundmark and De La Cruz, due up, but a strikeout and groundout ended the game.
Badlands still holds the season series advantage 4-3, but it could quickly change when they meet again in Souris Valley on Thursday. After that game, they will meet each other one more time for a two-game set on July 14 and 15.