Hettinger/Scranton Bears win District 5 championship

The team and coaching staff sit with their championship trophy. (Courtesy Photo)

Team will face Surrey in Thompson at the end of the month

They are champions.

The Hettinger-Scranton Bears downed Beulah 11-1 in the District 5 championship game at Washburn on July 16, and will represent District 5 in the state tourney at Thompson July 28-Aug. 1.  They opened the tourney be defeating Heart River, Hazen and then finally Beulah to take home the championship in the double elimination tournament.

For The Pioneer

“Overall the kids definitely came to play,” said Nolan Dix, who co-coaches the team with Rob Warbis. “They all came together as a team at the right time.”

Dix said his team didn’t overlook their early, lower-seeded opponent, which he noted is sometimes easy for top teams to do.

“Our top two pitchers were outstanding,” Dix said, adding that Warrick Disle had 12 strikeouts during his outing.

In the championship game Beulah scored first with a run in the top half of the first inning.  Bears pitcher Jeran Anderson started the inning with two quick outs but then hit the next two batters, with the first eventually scoring on an error.

Anderson got out of the inning on a ground out, third to first.

“He’s one of our pressure pitchers…I think he puts more pressure on [himself], he likes the pressure,” Dix said. “He pitched well, he could have gone another two innings.”

The Hettinger/Scranton Bears celebrate after earning a berth to the North Dakota State Babe Ruth tournament.

He settled down and allowed only four runners over the next four innings.  One of the runners was erased trying to steal second base on a strong throw by catcher Bo Wilson.  Another runner in the fourth inning was caught too far off base after first baseman Cory Christopherson caught line drive and stepped on the bag for the double play.  The game went only five innings due to the 10-run rule.

Anderson gave up three hits, struck out four, walked two and hit two batters.  Nate Battest was the starting pitcher for Beulah and was relieved by Aaron Ripplinger in the third.  Five runs were charged to Battest and six to Ripplinger.

The Bears pounded out seven hits led by Warrick Dilse with two hits, scoring three times and driving in one run.  Wilson also had two hits and drove in two runs.  Cade Warbis had a key two-out, two-run single in the third inning that put the Bears up 5-1.  They scored two more in the fourth and four in the fifth that ended the game.

The team is set to open the tournament against Surrey on Friday, July 28 at 1:30 p.m. CST, and the Bears have been doing their research. Dix said that scouting the team, the Bears will have to be ready to play small ball, meaning Surrey likes to bunt and steal.

“They’ll bunt with two outs, they’ll bunt with strikes,” Dix said. “We’re going to prepare for that all week.”

The coach said his team will be at the tournament ready to compete, especially with how they performed this past weekend.

“If we hit and pitch the way we did this weekend, there isn’t a team that we can’t compete with,” he said.

The last time the Bears played in the state tournament was when they earned an automatic bid as tournament host in 2015. Prior to 2015, the team advanced to the tournament in back-to-back years in the early 90s.

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