Roughriders roll to 2-0 record with wins over Mandan

Jun. 6—DICKINSON — After taking a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning of the Tuesday, June 4 home- and season-opener for the Dickinson Roughriders American Legion ballclub, the Mandan Chiefs came storming back to post a 7-6 advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh, and the home-team didn't disappoint, as first-baseman Tyler Danbom rocked a 2-run double to score Nick Sobolik and relief-pitcher Kyler Kudrna — who homered previously in the contest — and get the squad off to a solid start to the 2024 summer baseball season. Kudrna not-only came onto the mound for the win — striking out 2 and giving up only 1 earned-run — but he was 2-for-3 at the plate with a team-high 5 total-bases and 3 runs to go along with 3 RBI and a pair of steals at Dakota Community Bank and Trust Ballpark.

Danbom also had a multi-hit outing in Game 1 with the 2 RBI on 2-of-4 at the plate, while starting pitcher Jeremiah Jilek registered 4 Ks and walked 2 in 6 innings of work with 5 earned-runs.

"Mandan has kind of had our number the last few years, so it was good to get things off to a solid start against them this year," Dickinson head coach Ryan Crossingham said. "Everybody loves a walk-off, it especially gives you a little momentum heading into the second game to build on it and anytime you can win both games it's a big boost to your team."

Dickinson had posted a narrow, 5-4 lead by the bottom of the third frame after third-baseman Jack Price scored on an error and Kudrna scored on a passed-ball on the next at-bat in the first inning, then the Chiefs took the lead by the top of the third inning only to have it upended by the Roughriders' 3-run response with Kudrna cranking a 3-run bomb over the left-field wall that also scored Price and Jilek.

Mandan (0-2) kept chipping away, scoring 2 and retaking the lead in the sixth — with the Roughriders tying the game at 6-apiece as left-fielder Davin Seibel scored on a wild-pitch in the bottom-half of the inning — and the Chiefs finding a 1-run advantage in the top of the final frame at 7-6, before the fireworks.

But Dandom's double removed all doubt, sending the Roughriders (2-0) to the next game with the prevailing winds at their backs.

The second-half of the twin-bill was equally as thrilling as the opener, with the Roughriders requiring 3-run comebacks not-once, but-twice and piling-up 9 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for the win. Mandan raced to a 3-0 lead by the top of the third, only to have Dickinson return-fire with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame on Camden Kubas's heads-up baserunning as he scored on an error, which was followed by another Jilek RBI-single that plated starting righthander Jace Kovash — who earned the win on 4.1 innings of work with 5 Ks and only 3 walks while scattering 6 hits — as he ended up 1-for-3 at the plate with a trio of runs and 2 RBI.

Mandan took a 4-2 lead with a run in the fourth, but the Roughriders went back to work and scored 2 to knot the game at 4-4 as Price scored on a sacrifice-fly from Kudrna and backstop Conrad Kopari drove in Jilek on a shot to left. The seesaw battle continued with the visitors scoring 3 more runs in the sixth frame, but Dickinson went off in the bottom of the inning with their 9-run output that featured Jilek's run-scoring single that brought Kubas home, followed by a 2-run single from Kudrna that plated Kovash and Price to tie the game at 7-7. The Braves' bleeding continued on a Danbom RBI-single that sent Jilek across home and Kudrna soon scored on another Mandan wild-pitch that made the advantage 9-7, and with the bases-jacked Kovash roped a 3-run single to right that created a series of errors for the visitors and scored Danbom. Kevin Olsson and Kubas and helped Kovash advance to third. Kovash scored on the next at-bat on a single to center from Price to close out the scoring for the Roughriders and the game for Mandan, as Price came on in relief for two innings and gave up zero earned-runs.

"Honestly, the thing I was most proud about with the guys, yesterday, is that every time we hit a single adversity, they immediately bounced back, either to tie the game, take the lead or really put their foot down and take it over," Crossingham said. "Especially in baseball — with the game's ebb-and-flow — anytime you can be resilient and keep competing and bounce back that's a good sign for your team for the summer."

Price ended up pacing Dickinson with a 3-for-4 effort that included 2 runs and an RBI, while Jilek finished up at 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and 2 RBI and Kubas wound up the other multi-hitter on a perfect 2-for-2 night at the plate with 3 runs.

Next-up for the Roughriders will be another home doubleheader on Tuesday, June 11 against Jamestown with games beginning at 5 p.m. MDT.

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