Jun. 15—The Badlands Big Sticks, who got their season underway a few weeks ago, took a night off from Expedition League play and hosted the American Legion baseball team in Dickinson, the Roughriders, for a scrimmage Monday night.
It was a night to embrace the fun side of America's pastime. It was all smiles around the ballpark as it was a game featuring the best Dickinson baseball had to offer.
As the Big Sticks do for every home game, various contests and games were done between innings. This time, a few of the contests put a Big Sticks player against a Roughrider.
To ensure an evenly matched contest, the pitcher was on the same team as the batter to ensure the skill level was the same. It created an interesting dynamic as pitchers were throwing to their teammates, trying to best them in the batter's box.
Even if the batter got a hit, the pitcher would be smiling and applauding their teammate as they were running down the first base line and hearing some friendly smack talk from their dugout.
The Big Sticks managed to hit two home runs, with the pitcher giving the batter a fist bump on his way to home plate.
While it was a team of high school players against the Big Sticks roster made up of college players, it was only the fielding aspect where the Roughriders were the lesser of the teams, but based on the success of the Dickinson Midgets, they were more than capable of holding their own.
The Roughriders "won" the game 7-6, but with severe modifications to the scrimmage. Both coaches were watching the pitch count of their pitchers and were pulled whenever they felt necessary, regardless of who was on base.
For the Roughriders, it was actually head coach Tyler Frenzel's first look at his team this summer, as their first game was cancelled last Thursday due to unpleasant weather.
"It was a bit of a tune-up," Frenzel said. "It was a scrimmage for us. We haven't played since the high school season. The game was cancelled and we took the weekend off so they were a little rusty."
Despite the pandemic last year, the Roughriders were able to play a season last summer as part of the senior Babe Ruth League. This summer, the American Legion baseball league is back on with a more experienced group for Dickinson.
"We have a lot of guys back," Frenzel said. "We finally have a veteran group and it will be nice to have that. We're just looking forward to playing some baseball and having some fun."
Their season starts today at 5 p.m. CST with a double-header in Grand Forks, followed by a tournament in Sioux Falls over the weekend.