HUMBOLDT, S.D. (KELO) — Friday’s KELOLAND.com Game of the Week will feature an amateur baseball in town rivalry between the Hartford/Humboldt Wood Ducks and the Hartford/Humboldt Gamecocks.
Hartford/Humboldt Wood Ducks
The Wood Ducks find themselves tied for third in the Cornbelt District after eight games.
The Wood Ducks started the season as one of the hottest teams in the district as they jumped out to a 3-1 record, including wins over the Dell Rapids Mudcats, Salem and the Gamecocks.
The Wood Ducks now hold a 5-3 record, as they have won two straight contests with wins over Canova (5-3) and the Mudcats (7-3).
“We have been playing solid baseball as of late, but there’s still 5 games left in the regular season,” Wood Ducks’ Manager Mark Rockafellow said. “Pitching, defense and some timely hitting has helped. A lot of different guys are contributing in a number of different ways and that is all you can ask for.”
The Wood Ducks will look to continue their success as one of the top teams in the Cornbelt District.
Both teams represent the towns of Hartford and Humboldt, which makes Friday’s contest even more entertaining.
“It’s a big game! It’s fun to get out on the diamond and play against those guys,” Rockafellow said. “It’ll be a hard fought game and at the end of the day, we just want to put on a good ball game for the Humboldt and Hartford communities.”
The Wood Ducks will look to win their third straight game and earn a season sweep of their in town rival.
“We’re going to have to get some timely hitting and not leave runners on base. Pitching and defense are going to play a big role,” Rockafellow said. “They have some great hitters, but if we can hold them down on the defensive side of the ball and get some timely hits, I think we will put ourselves in a position to win a ball game.”
Unlike the Wood Ducks, the Gamecocks had a slow start to the season.
The Gamecocks started 0-6, but had a tough schedule to start the season.
They suffered two losses to the Mudcats (7-3; 2nd in district), two losses to Canova (5-3; 3rd in district), one loss to the Wood Ducks and one loss to Lennox (7-1; 1st in district).
The Gamecocks had struggled to stop opponents as they allowed 61 runs in the first five games.
Since then, Hartford/Humboldt has allowed only three runs per contest and have won two of their last three games.
“We have a great group of guys that enjoying playing ball together, but I have to give credit to our pitchers,” Gamecocks’ Manager Chad Morrison said. “The last two games they have been pumping the zone, not awarding free passes (walks) and our defense has been solid as well.”
Wins over Salem and Colman have earned the Gamecocks their 2-6 record.
Similar to their in town rival, the Gamecocks are excited to play Friday’s contest.
“When two teams from the same town play each other, it creates an exciting environment,” Morrison said. “Players know each other and it brings in more fans. It’s a fun atmosphere for everyone.”
The Gamecocks will look to pick up their third consecutive win on Friday.
“We can’t give extra outs by making errors and we can’t leave guys in scoring position,” Morrison said.
The Wood Ducks and Gamecocks have met once already this season and the Wood Ducks earned the 8-3 win.
The Wood Ducks jumped out to an early lead and then used quality pitching to keep the lead and earn the win.
The biggest difference this time is that Friday’s game will feature post game fireworks.
“The post game fireworks have been a Gamecocks tradition for years. Traditionally, they are done around the Fourth of July and in conjunction with Humboldt Days,” Morrison said. “We can’t thank the city of Humboldt enough for supplying them and the fire department for putting on the show.”
This is usually part of the Humboldt days celebration which used to be the Fourth of July celebration.
“The fireworks have been going on for a long time, but it’s part of the city’s celebration,” Rockafellow said. “It goes along with a street dance, car show, bean bag tournament and a number of other things.”
The fireworks will shoot off following the conclusion of Friday’s game.
Friday’s Game of the Week coverage will begin around 7:25 p.m. and play-by-play will be provided by KELOLAND.com’s Grant Sweeter.
You can watch the game below:
You can learn more about the Game of the Week process by visiting the story below: