After an 11-4 loss in the first game of their Thursday night doubleheader, the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks turned things around in a 4-2 win in the following game at Kraft Field.

A two-RBI single down the left-field line from Fogelstrom got them off on the right foot in the first. Then a throwing error from Badlands catcher Beckett Vine allowed another to score and gave the Whiskey Jacks a three-run lead to start the game.

Wheat City batter Caleb McDowell smacks the ball in the latter innings of game one of a home doubleheader at Kraft Field against the Badlands Big Sticks on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
Wheat City batter Caleb McDowell smacks the ball in the latter innings of game one of a home doubleheader at Kraft Field against the Badlands Big Sticks on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

“We executed when we needed to and got timely hits and timely outs,” Whiskey Jacks coach Robbie Laughlin said. “(Kraft Field) can be kind of a graveyard at times, so it helps when our guys are staying on the line and just worried about hitting the ball hard.”

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Perhaps due to the evening humidity, but the Jacks were able to get the ball to come down in front of the outfield for some key small-ball base hits. Balls were hitting the ground in the middle of the outfield as well. After a Big Stick centerfielder lost the ball in the night sky, the Jacks added one more.

Matthew Dalquist registered five strikeouts in the first three innings, which came in the clutch. With runners on and threatening, he was able to get the Jacks out of some tough jams which came in handy during the shortened seven-inning game.

“Pretty awesome would be quite the understatement. He was pretty phenomenal tonight,” Laughlin said.

Even in the sixth, with the Big Sticks able to bring one all the way around, Laughlin stuck with Dalquist for the entire inning and he was able to strand a man on third. He finished the game with nine strikeouts through six innings of work, while only giving up three hits.

“When I recruited Matthew to come play this summer I didn’t really know what to expect from a senior in high school,” said Laughlin. “His pitching coach at UC San Diego kind of assured me that he’s going to be a dude for them and I certainly take his word for it.”

Badlands would threaten in the seventh as well. A passed ball scored one and an infield squibber that booted off the field umpire gave them a bases-loaded situation with one out, but a double play ball would end the game.

Wheat City shortstop Dean Bittner and Badlands runner Wyatt Setian (4) watch the action in game one of a doubleheader at Kraft Field on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
Wheat City shortstop Dean Bittner and Badlands runner Wyatt Setian (4) watch the action in game one of a doubleheader at Kraft Field on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks HeraldNick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Seven runs in the first two innings put the Big Sticks in command of game one. The middle of the Badlands lineup got a hold of the ambidextrous Gene Aberouette early and often, with Wyatt Setian, Angel De La Cruz, Eric Martinez and Austin Bunn combining for five RBIs. Setian would finish the game going four-for-five with four RBIs.

“We were perhaps still on our All-Star break during that first game, but glad we were able to put that one behind us,” Laughlin said, having just come back from the festivities on Monday and Tuesday.

Now at 21-27 overall, the Jacks still sit at fourth in the Lewis Division with a 7-11 record in the second half.

After finishing their homestand with the Big Sticks the Whiskey Jacks will finish up the series in Dickinson on Saturday and Sunday before returning home to face the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs next week.