Mitchell Black drops two, ends season
Mitchell Black dropped two games Saturday and was eliminated from the state Class AA majors teener tournament.
“When you play quality teams like Brookings and Pierre, you’ve got to make the routine plays,” Mitchell Black head coach Dustin Wheeler said. “We stressed that to the kids all season and it came down to a few instances where we didn’t make routine plays. Unearned runs really cost us in both games and leaving runners in scoring position hurt us.”
Against Brookings, Mitchell left 12 runners on base. The troubles started early in the first inning, when Mitchell’s first three batters — Elijah Pommer, Parker Wenzel and Jed Schmidt — all reached on base hits, but were stranded when Brookings pitcher Chris Lerdal got the next three Mitchell hitters to fly out, strike out and fly out, respectively.
Brookings scored five runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead, but Mitchell rallied in the fourth, aided by a bases-loaded single by Schmidt that was accompanied by a Brookings throwing error that helped Mitchell score four runs in the inning and cut the deficit to 5-4.
However, Brookings did the same to Mitchell three innings later. With two out and still trailing 5-4, an error by Mitchell led to three unearned runs.
For Mitchell, Schmidt, Drew Kitchens and Sam Michels all had two hits. Michels’ hit total included a double.
Spencer Neugebauer was the starting pitcher and took the loss, allowing nine hits in four innings. He struck out four and didn’t allow a walk. Wenzel relieved, allowing four hits in two innings. He struck out one and walked one.
Against Pierre, Mitchell not only needed to win to have a chance to qualify for Sunday’s championship bracket, but the team also needed to limit Pierre to few runs to have a chance via the tournament’s tie-breaker system. In the end, neither happened.
Mitchell led 3-2 in the fourth and 5-3 in the fifth, but Pierre scored four runs in the sixth to end Mitchell’s hopes.
Ryland DeVries was the starting pitcher for Mitchell, throwing into the sixth inning and taking the loss. He allowed nine hits and struck out four while walking four. Baley Miller relieved.
Mitchell got two hits from Wenzel, Pommer and Carter Cavanaugh and doubles from Schmidt and Neugebauer.
Mitchell ends the season with three players batting at least .400, led by Schmidt, who was hitting .600 late in the year and ended at .567. Neugebauer finished with a .492 average and Wenzel hit .417. Also, Matt Muth hit .387, Pommer hit .386 and Kitchens hit .373.
Miller ends the season with the team’s most pitching wins, with a 7-2 record. Also, Wenzel was 5-3, followed in wins by Pommer (4-1), Schmidt (4-2), Cavanaugh (3-0), Neugebauer (3-4), Michels (2-1) and DeVries (2-3).
“We’ve beaten those teams before, but we didn’t represent how good we really are this weekend,” Wheeler said. “ ... It was a good season and we got every one of our players playing time. We had a lot of players develop and improve this season, which is going to lead us in the right direction for when they reach junior Legion and Legion.”
Sioux Falls West scored four runs in the sixth inning to break away from Pierre en route to claiming the Class AA majors title Sunday.
The game was tied at five heading into the bottom of the sixth until West put together a four-run inning to claim the game 9-5.
Garrett Powell had a double and single and Alex Fiegen and Thane Hein each added two singles in the win.
Pierre received a double from Chase Bolte and a single apiece from Mike Lusk and Sam Edman.
No pitching stats were reported for the title game.
Brookings beat Brandon Valley in the third-place game 8-3. Brookings got doubles from Akren Prodahl and Sam Wilbur.