SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Troopers couldn’t seem to earn the big hit during their long road trip to Omaha. They’d set the table with runners in scoring position or load the bases and a ground ball double play or a line drive right at someone would end the inning.
That overarching theme persisted Tuesday when the Troopers returned home to host Dickinson. Luckily for Sheridan, it didn’t last all seven innings of the rain-shortened game.
The Troopers’ enjoyed a big fifth inning and held on for a 7-5 win to improve to 10-15 on the season.
Credit for the big fifth inning goes to the back end of Sheridan’s lineup. Hitters six-nine recorded five of the Troopers’ seven hits on the night and drove in all four runs during the crooked fifth inning.
“That’s really big for us because it hasn’t consistently been there this year. That has kind of been our nemesis,” Sheridan head coach Ben Phillips said. “We are playing a lot of close game and we haven’t been getting that production from the lower end. Our one-five are getting on, and we are not producing at the lower end the lineup. … So that was good to see, and we had a lot of two out hits tonight, which is huge.”
Dalton Nelson logged the first two-out, two-run hit — a blooper just over the third basemen’s head — and Justice Rees followed it up with a blooper to right that scored a pair. That staked Sheridan to a 6-0 lead, which appeared more than enough for starter Carter Dubberley.
Dubberly cruised through the first six innings, scattering four hits and giving up zero runs. He was keeping the ball low, forcing a slew of ground-ball outs and tossed in a couple strikeouts, as well.
“I was just pounding the zone, throwing strikes,” Dubberley said. “My curveball wasn’t really working at first. I eventually got that going and just got hitters to pop up and hit ground balls, and it all worked out for me.”
Dubberley appeared that he was going to ease to a complete-game shut out, as he had two out with just one on in the top of the seventh inning.
But with just three strikes separating him and the complete game, Dubberley hit a rough patch.
He yielded a bloop single to center, and back-to-back seeing-eye singles, which loaded the bases for the Roughriders. Cody Maler made it a ballgame with a grand slam over the monster in left, which made it 7-5. Dubberley settled back in, inducing a pop up to second to finally close out the seventh.
And even amid the late struggles, Phillips liked what he got from his starter.
“It was good performance,” Phillips said. “He saved innings for us. We are coming off a long road trip and we need to save our arms, so we can get some guys rest. So I was very pleased with his performance.”
Then the rain came. After about a 15-minute delay because of hard rain and lightning the game was called in the middle of the seventh.
Quinn McCafferty highlighted the top half of Sheridan’s lineup — which didn’t have the strongest of games, logging just two hits — with an RBI double.
Sheridan will play a nine-inning affair against the 406 Flyers out of Billings Wednesday at 3 p.m. before taking six days off and plunging into inter-state play.