Big sixth inning leads Mitchell over YanktonMitchell Post 18 sent 17 hitters to the plate in a 10-run sixth inning Wednesday, racing past Yankton for a 13-1, seven-inning win in a scheduled nine-inning game. With a 3-0 lead after five innings, ending the game early because of the 10-run rule didn’t seem like it would come into play. But the line drive outs Mitchell had been making earlier finally started to drop, and Mitchell broke things open in a hurry.
By: Matt Bunke, The Daily Republic
Mitchell Post 18 sent 17 hitters to the plate in a 10-run sixth inning Wednesday, racing past Yankton for a 13-1, seven-inning win in a scheduled nine-inning game.
With a 3-0 lead after five innings, ending the game early because of the 10-run rule didn’t seem like it would come into play. But the line drive outs Mitchell had been making earlier finally started to drop, and Mitchell broke things open in a hurry.
“Early on in the game, it didn’t look like we were scoring any runs, but we hit the ball hard,” Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. “We just had consistent at-bats all the way through the game.”
Post 18 pounded out nine hits in the decisive sixth inning, which started with back-to-back singles from Brett Young and Kendall Patrick. Alex Loes followed with a sacrifice fly to center to drive in the first run on a ball that would have been an RBI single if not for the second diving catch of the game by Yankton center fielder Kyle Mueller.
After that out, the next 10 Mitchell hitters reached safely in a stretch that included five consecutive hits at one point. Steve Jackson and Alex Bennett both had two-run singles in the inning, Jamie Huber, Alex Loes and Brett Young had RBI hits, Loes added his sacrifice fly and Kendall Patrick also had a single. Sean DeVries was also hit by two pitches in the inning, including once with the bases loaded.
“The thing that I think shows we’re working hard to score more runs is when we get up by seven, eight or nine runs, the next guy up isn’t trying to do too much,” Norden said. “We’re drawing walks, getting hit by pitches and those types of things, not chasing pitches out of the zone. That’s what we need to do to build a lead, and that’s what we did tonight.”
DeVries didn’t get a chance to swing the bat in the big sixth inning, but he did most of his damage early, driving in the game’s first three runs. He had a two-run single in the first inning and followed with an opposite field, solo-homer off the scoreboard in right in the fourth inning.
“He threw me a fastball down the middle and I just put a pretty good swing on it,” DeVries said. “I didn’t think it was out at all. I thought it would hit the fence maybe, or go behind the guy, but that was about it.”
Almost lost in Mitchell’s offensive barrage was the near-perfect outing from Brett Young, who was making one final tune-up start before next week’s region action. Young went six innings and allowed only three hits, and thanks to two Mitchell double plays, he pitched to only two batters over the minimum in his six innings. It would have been only one batter over the minimum if not for a sixth-inning error.
“I was just throwing strikes, and trying to work in all my pitches to get them ready for next week with the regions coming up,” Young said. “Mainly I was just working on hitting the strike zone and making them hit it.”
Jamie Huber relieved Young in the seventh after Young had sat in the dugout for what seemed like an eternity while Mitchell racked up its runs. Like Young, Huber pounded the strike zone, but did give up a solo homer to Devin Gullickson before quickly recording the final two outs to end the game.
“(Young) and Huber only threw a combined 15 balls out of 66 pitches,” Norden said, referring to both the remarkably low number of total pitches for seven innings, as well as the number of strikes. “They were very efficient, and our defense didn’t have to stand around.”
Kendall Patrick stayed hot for Mitchell, going 3-for-4, and would have had a perfect day at the plate if not for the first of two spectacular diving catches by Mueller in center field, this one robbing Patrick of extra bases in the third. DeVries finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs and Young was 2-for-4. All nine Mitchell starters scored at least one run.
Matt Doerr took the loss for Yankton, going 5.1 innings and allowing 10 earned runs on nine hits. Mueller was 2-for-2 at the plate.
Mitchell is now 23-17 and will play tonight at 5 p.m. at Brandon Valley.
“This was a good start,” Norden said of his team’s final week of play before regionals. “(Today), hopefully we can do the same thing. Swinging the bat and throwing strikes will be the key for us next week, and will have to be the key for us the next couple games going into the playoffs.”