Dickinson, North Dakota- In a series that has the top two teams in the Independence League Baseball Association battling for the top spot, the Fremont Moo overcame a pair of deficits to defeat the Badlands Big Sticks, 8-5, Friday night on Astoria Field at Dakota Community Bank and Trust Ballpark.
Due to mechanical issues to Fremont’s charter bus, one-hour into the ten and one-half hour trip from Fremont to Dickinson, the Moo were delayed three hours, which pushed the start time of Friday night’s originally slated 7:20 (CT) start to 8:40pm. Both teams conferred and agreed to play a seven inning contest, instead of the original nine inning game.
Badlands jumped ahead in the bottom of the first inning. Matthew Lewis singled and Joe Osborn smacked a rbi double to the left-center field fence, scoring Lewis, making it 1-0, the Big Sticks.
After Badlands’ starter Eli Nissen set down the first nine batters he faced, Fremont’s offense awoke in the fourth. Christian Hobbs singled to lead off the inning. Then, Josh Blount reached on a fielder’s choice, and Hobbs was safe at second on a throwing error by Big Sticks’ first baseman, Danny Rogers. Moo catcher Tyman Long came up, and on a 2-2 Nissen breaking ball, Long smoked a three-run home run to left-center field, his fourth of the year, to put Fremont ahead, 3-1.
The lead was short-lived, as Badlands scored two in the bottom of the fourth. Rogers led off the inning with a single and Royce Vandine followed with a double, putting runners at second and third. Preston Jones grounded out to second base, bringing in Rogers, to make it 3-2. The next batter, Mason Baer hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Vandine from third, making it a tie game, at three.
The Big Sticks recaptured the lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Rogers was hit by a Tyson Romero pitch. Then Vandine hit a 3-1 Romero offering deep to right center and over the fence for a two-run home run, his first of the year, putting Badlands ahead 5-3. The Moo brought Darius Blasingane out of the bullpen to get Jones to fly out to right field, for the final out of the inning.
After a long day of travel, delays and mental fatigue, the Moo showed great fortitude by recapturing the lead for good in the top of the sixth. Long was hit by a pitch from reliever Kobe Krenz, and Harrington followed with a single to put runners on first and second. After a Henry Hayman ground out advanced the runners to second and third, Long would score on a Krenz wild pitch, to make it 5-4. Ben Swails was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners. Next, Harrington would score on another Krenz wild pitch, to tie the game at five. Next, Moo second baseman Blake Tablazon smacked a rbi double over Big Sticks’ center fielder Max Baer’s head, scoring Swails to put Fremont ahead, 6-5. After a Sammy Contacos strikeout, Braden Sweet delivered a base hit through the right side of the infield, scoring Tablazon, to make it 7-5. Sweet would steal second, then, Hobbs singled up the middle, scoring Sweet, for the game’s final run.
Fremont was held scoreless in the top of the seventh and Blasingane retired the Big Sticks in order to secure the Fremont 8-5 victory.
Tyson Romero started on the mound for Fremont. The Lincoln native, from Nebraska Wesleyan, pitched 4.2 innings, giving up five hits, five runs, three walks, two strikeouts, one home run and hitting one batter. Darius Blasingane (2-0), the St. Petersburg, Florida native at Edward Waters University, pitched 2.1 innings, giving up one hit.
Badlands’ starter Eli Nissen pitched five innings, giving up three hits, three runs, walked one, struck out four and yielded the home run to Long. Kobe Krenz (2-1) lasted 0.2 innings, giving up three hits, five runs, with two wild pitches and hitting two batters. Braxton Greenburg pitched 1.1 innings, giving up one hit, one walk and striking out two.
Offensively, the Moo were led by Christian Hobbs. The Omaha native from Black Hawk Community College, went 3-for-4 with a rbi and a run scored. Tyman Long, the Sioux Falls, South Dakota native, from Southern Nevada University, was 1-for-3 with the three-run home run, in the fourth, his team leading fourth of the year.
Badlands was led by Royce Vandine, going 2-for-3 with a two-run home run, his first of the year, in the fifth inning.
More Information: With the win, Fremont set a new season high, with a five game winning streak. The Moo also moved two games ahead of Badlands for first place in the ILB standings. Tyler Harrington’s sixth inning single ran his hit streak to ten games. Tyman Long has homered in two of the last three games, and has hit safely in his last four contests. Darius Blasingane has appeared in his last two outings, with Fremont trailing, and has been able to earn the victories on the mound after the Moo mounted comebacks. Blasingane has not given up a run, yet, this season in three relief appearances.
Up Next: Fremont (13-3) will play Badlands (10-4) in game two of the series, Saturday night, on Astoria Field, at Dakota Community Bank and Trust Ballpark. First pitch is 7:20pm (CT)