A palpable buzz of excitement reverberated through Corbett Field during the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs’ home opener, but the crowd truly came alive after one ferocious swing of Josh Solomon’s bat.
Solomon ripped a long two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning against the Badlands Big Sticks. Big Sticks. The Sabre Dogs (2-2) rode the momentum and defeated the Big Sticks (2-2) in a lopsided 13-1 contest.
After Solomon crossed home plate, a flurry of Sabre Dogs mobbed him outside of the first-base dugout. The celebration was a harbinger for the evening’s events.
Badlands shortstop Wyatt Setian kept his hot streak alive with a solo shot in the fourth, but the Sabre Dogs countered with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Mason Dinesen smacked a sacrifice fly to right-center before Tim Conway delivered an RBI single up the middle.
Trailing 4-1 in the top of the sixth, the Big Sticks threatened with bases loaded and no outs. Souris Valley pitchers Aaron Kern and Daniel Rivera combined to toss a scoreless frame.
The Sabre Dogs took advantage of that positive energy in the bottom of the sixth. Three Souris Valley runs came home on two separate wild pitches.
Cal Villareal wore a pitch with the bases loaded before Bo McClintock brought home two runs on a single to left field. Souris Valley was not satisfied with a nine-run lead, however.
Ivan Prejean hit a two-run blooper that dropped safely into right field. The eight-run inning boosted the margin to 12-1.
At that point, the Sabre Dogs had scored their 12 runs on just seven hits. Badlands failed to score any runs in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom half of that frame, Solomon struck again. His first home run sailed to a deep section of right-center field, so he decided to pull his second big fly.
Solomon’s towering drive to left field gave the Sabre Dogs an additional insurance run. Prejean sent another long hit to left field in the bottom of the eighth, but the ball was snagged at the warning track. Although Souris Valley did not score in that frame, relief pitcher Max Kendall retired the Big Sticks in the bottom of the ninth without allowing a run.
Notably, Badlands scored its one run after accumulating eight hits. Souris Valley’s ability to string hits together for runs proved to be the difference in the game.
The teams will meet again at 7:05 p.m. this evening.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.