Last week the Dakota College at Bottineau baseball team made their way south to take on the Oklahoma Panhandle State University JV and Dodge City Community College squads. The Lumberjacks played three games against Oklahoma Panhandle and one against Dodge City.
In the first game of the season, the Lumberjacks had their hands full and hats on tight as not only did they have to deal with a tough Panhandle lineup, but also wind speeds of up to 40-50 mph. It showed in the final score of game one as the Lumberjacks came away with a 16-15 win. Dillon Marco pitched the final few innings and kept the ball down to keep Panhandle at bay, while Darrin Wersal came in and earned his first career save in college. The Lumberjacks relied on athleticism and taking extra bases as much as they could. In the end it was just enough for the Lumberjacks as they got their first win of the season.
In the 2nd game Monday against Dodge City, it was readily apparent that the Lumberjacks had not been outside as often as their opponent had. The Lumberjacks spotted Dodge City seven runs in the first inning, two of those being earned, after that Dodge City never looked back. They won the game 14-3 over the Lumberjacks. In the final inning, Dodge City hit a grand slam to end the game with a 10-run rule. Overall, the Lumberjacks played well and had their chances, but were unable to strike across enough runs to make things fully interesting.
On Wednesday, the final day of the trip, the Lumberjacks played a double header against Oklahoma Panhandle State. This time the winds were calm and it was a perfect day for some baseball. In the first game, the Lumberjacks got the short end of the stick. They did not record a run until the 4th inning. The late start made it tough for the Lumberjacks to gain enough momentum to finish the comeback. In the bottom half of the 6th Panhandle put across two more runs and made the gap too big for the Lumberjacks. The final score read Panhandle 8, DCB 5.
With their record at 1-2 the Lumberjacks were determined to bounce back and end the trip on a solid note. The Lumberjacks this time would strike early and often as the bats would explode for 14 runs. After some early pitching struggles for the Lumberjacks they would give way to the bullpen where Cody Ruden would come in and stun the Panhandle lineup. Ruden would go four 2/3rds innings and only gave up one run and no walks. He pitched to contact and used his defense behind him. The final score read DCB 14, OPSU JV 6.
The Lumberjacks will be in action a week after spring break, as they will head to Duluth where they will play two games against Minnesota West CTC and Rainy River CC. The following week the Lumberjacks are scheduled for their first home and league games of the season against Williston State College.