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‘On a roll’: Dimock/Emery closing season strong

Dimock/Emery shortstop Jason Schmidt makes a throw to first base during a game against Parkston on July 5 in Parkston. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Don’t look now, but the Dimock/Emery Raptors are hitting their stride.

After falling to the Corsica/Stickney Horned Frogs by a whopping 29-13 score in mid-June, the Raptors have gone 6-3 and 5-1 in the Sunshine League.

“Our starting pitching has gotten better as the season went on,” Dimock/Emery manager Brad Bartscher said. “Obviously, getting all our guys to all the games and that makes a big difference in amateur baseball -- who is there and who is not. We started clicking and one thing kind of led to another and we kind of got on a roll.”

Since giving up the 29 runs against Corsica/Stickney, the Raptors have given 23 total runs in the last nine games and have recorded two shutouts. They also avenged their defeat against Corsica/Stickney with a 14-9 win over the Horned Frogs on July 8.

“We are coming together,” Bartscher added. “We are hitting the ball well. We are pitching well and if we can keep playing defense how I know we can, good things can happen.”

The Raptors have been powered at the mound by veterans Phil Johnson and Jason Schmidt.

“Jason Schmidt has really stepped into a starting pitcher role now instead of just being a closer,” Bartscher said. “He’s started the last four Sundays for us and has given us big innings and is being a good leader for us on the mound. Obviously, Phil Johnson has been steady all season long also like he always does.”

Former Mitchell Post 18 player Jed Schmidt also joined the Raptors midway through the season and has fit in nicely on the mound.

“Now that we added Jed Schmidt to our team after he got back, we’ve been really fortunate to have three really good starters and Jared Schmidt has been about as solid as they have come also,” Bartscher said.

Jed Schmidt, who plays baseball for NCAA Division II champion Augustana University, sees time at the plate, mound and outfield for Dimock/Emery. He bats leadoff for the Raptors.

“It’s one more great athlete in the lineup,” Bartscher said. “It’s just made everybody else better both offensively and defensively and with running the bases.”

Offensively, the Raptors have received offense from a number of different bats. Jason Schmidt, Jared Schmidt, Jed Schmidt, Johnson, Gene Kitchens, Doug Sudbeck, Sam Pischke and Tucker Kingsbury, Tyson Kayser and Sam Arend have all taken turns producing at the plate.

“Everybody is feeding off each other,” Bartscher said. “The lineup is that much more deeper with Jed in it, and everybody wants to do their part in the lineup and it’s just made us that much more better.”

Up next, the Raptors play the Platte Killer Tomatoes at 8 p.m. today in Emery in their Sunshine League finale. Dimock/Emery plays at Wynot, Nebraska, on Saturday in its season finale.

The ultra-competitive District 5B tournament starts July 21 in Platte.

“With our district being so tough top to bottom, there isn’t one team out there that can’t win a game,” Bartscher said. “They are all very good in our league and our district. It is going to be one heck of a playoff run for everybody, because anybody is going to be able to beat anybody on any given night.”