Big Sticks fall to an even-.500 with loss to Duluth

Jun. 4—DULUTH, Minn. — Close games have been the norm for the Badlands Big Sticks, as the Dickinson team has seen 1-run losses on three separate occasions thus-far in the early 2024 season, and the Duluth Huskies earned their first win of the year over the 'Sticks in a come-from-behind, extra-inning thriller the hosts won, 10-9 on Monday, June 3. Duluth ramped-up their game in the ninth and 10th innings, scoring 5 runs to send the Big Sticks home with a 1-4 record over their last five after starting the season at 3-0.

In Monday's game, the visitors jumped out to a 3-1 lead by the end of the second inning on the strength of a Cooper Hill double that scored centerfielder Quade Peters and right-fielder Kaden Carpenter after their singles, and another run in the second on a single from shortstop Ty Nekoliczak that saw him cross home-plate after a stolen-base from the bat of Peters to give the 'Sticks the early advantage, despite a 1-run answer from the hosts at the bottom of the second inning.

But the seesaw teetered and tottered the other direction in the fourth and fifth for the Huskies as the home-team racked-up 3 runs and took a 4-3 lead that was quickly erased by the Big Sticks in a 5-run sixth inning, with a leadoff double from catcher Gunnar Hansen, a walk to left-fielder Marcus Romero and a single from Peters — who went 2-for-6 with a pair of runs and a steal — to load the bases. Hansen scored on a walk to first-baseman Evan Appelwick and Carpenter returned to the plate to deliver a double that plated Romero and Peters as the 'Sticks retook the lead and advanced their advantage on a single from designated-hitter Dane Jones that ran Appelwick across the dish to double-up Duluth's production at an 8-4 lead.

But the bats went silent for the Big Sticks in the next three frames and the Huskies chewed into their lead with a run in the seventh and 3 more in the ninth to knot the game at 8-apiece.

While the Big Sticks took a narrow, 1-run lead into the bottom of the 10th on Appelwick's 3rd run of the game, the hosts were able to win in walk-off fashion on a double from Joe Vos that tied the game on a Brady Sullivan run, and that led to Vos scoring on a single from Husky third-baseman Boots Landry for the victory.

T.J. Spitdowski absorbed the loss as he came in for 1.2 innings of work, giving up 2 earned runs on 2 hits, while the Big Sticks' staff of five combined for 10 strikeouts with 7 of the Duluth runs being earned.

Appelwick, Carpenter and Hill all joined Peters in the multi-hit category, with Carpenter and Hill driving in 2-each and Dickinson native and third-baseman Troy Berg going 1-for-4 with a pair of walks and 3 of the Big Sticks' 8 stolen-bases on the night.

The 'Sticks have an off-day on Tuesday, June 4, but will return to their home-turf on Wednesday for a two-game series with the St. Cloud Rox.

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