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Pitching propels Sabre Dogs to 4-1 victory over Big Sticks

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Souris Valley's Aaron Galvan sprints to first base during the fourth inning of Tuesday evening's game against the Badlands Big Sticks at Corbett Field. The Sabre Dogs captured a 4-1 win over the Big Sticks.

Heading into Tuesday evening’s game against the Badlands Big Sticks, Ryan Lobus envisioned a chance to gain ground in the Lewis Division standings. The Souris Valley starting pitcher did not allow any runs in six complete innings of work.

Lobus engineered a strong pitching effort in the 4-1 win at Corbett Field. Souris Valley (15-14) now trails Badlands (16-14) by a half a game in the division race.

“Most of those (Badlands) players have been in the league for three years,” Sabre Dogs head coach Corey Thompson said. “It’s fun to see those guys grow and get better. It’s fun playing those guys. It’s a friendly rivalry. There’s no bad blood at all. It’s fun to win and compete against those guys.”

Neither team tallied a run in the first two innings. In the bottom of the third inning, Cullen Hannigan sprinted home on a passed ball.

The 1-0 lead gave the Sabre Dogs a boost. Bo McClintock provided an extra run with a sharp RBI single in the fourth frame.

After Aaron Galvan hit a hard ground ball into the infield, the Big Sticks decided to make the play at second base. In turn, Nik Levensteins scored the contest’s third run.

Lobus rewarded Souris Valley’s gritty offense with more scoreless innings on the mound. The Chattanooga State product struck out five Badlands hitters and issued just two walks.

“My slider does very well against righties,” Lobus said. “It’s running away from righties. Having my changeup kind of fade away to lefties gives me options against both kinds of hitters.”

Much to Thompson’s delight, Tim Conway led off the fifth inning with a deep double. Josh Solomon brought Conway home with a double of his own.

“He stepped up tonight like I thought he would,” Thompson said about Conway. “Big double there to lead off the inning and he ended up scoring. That was a huge insurance run for us.”

Relievers Aren Alvarez and Aaron Kern picked up where Lobus left off. Alvarez and Kern allowed one run and walked just one batter.

Kern, in particular, was potent. The Minot State Beaver employed his electric pitches and struck out three Big Sticks in two innings.

Badlands scored one run on Wyatt Setian’s sacrifice fly in the seventh, but Souris Valley’s advantage was too large.

“It’s tough to get all three guys on the same night,” Thompson said. “The day off helped us line it up. They did a really good job. Now, we’ve lined up Austin Glaze and Tanner Riley. Those two guys have been nails all summer.”

The squads will play 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.

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