Post 22 knocks off Mitchell en route to Legion titleRAPID CITY — Rapid City Post 22’s Kolton Emery struck out every one of Mitchell’s starters at least once, helping his team end Mitchell’s season on its way to Post 22’s 36th state Legion championship. Mitchell fell to Post 22 Sunday at the Class A state Legion tournament 12-2 in seven innings in a qualifying game for the right to play Rapid City Post 320. Post 22 then defeated Post 320 6-2.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
RAPID CITY — Rapid City Post 22’s Kolton Emery struck out every one of Mitchell’s starters at least once, helping his team end Mitchell’s season on its way to Post 22’s 36th state Legion championship.
Mitchell fell to Post 22 Sunday at the Class A state Legion tournament 12-2 in seven innings in a qualifying game for the right to play Rapid City Post 320. Post 22 then defeated Post 320 6-2.
Emery struck out 15 batters against Mitchell, including striking out the side in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
“He spots up really well on the outside corner and we watched too many pitches,” Post 18 coach Luke Norden said. “It’s the same thing all season against these guys. All year long we’ve watched too many fastballs on the outside corner.
“He also has probably the best breaking pitch in the state for a right-hander. The hardest breaking pitch and he does a great job spotting up.”
The only inning Emery didn’t strike out a batter was in the top of the third, when Post 18 had an opportunity to score the game’s first runs. After Kyle Larson flied out to right for the first out, Sean DeVries singled up the middle, but he was picked off for the second out. Then, Jamie Huber and Cade Hearnen singled back-to-back and Ryan Buck walked on four pitches to load the bases. Brett Young, who hit .476 over the course of the tournament, stepped to the plate and softly lined the first pitch he saw to third base.
“Anytime you can stop them from scoring when they have guys on base that’s big,” Post 22 Manager Dave Ploof said.
Rapid City responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning, which was when Mitchell starter Alex Loes was pulled from the game. Loes got the first batter to ground out to second, and then things unraveled for him.
“He got rattled when a little dink hit started the whole thing,” Norden said. “It was a little hit off the handle, two walks and a base hit. If he calms down after the first base hit and goes to work, it’s a different ball game. He just mentally wasn’t in the situation where he should have been.”
Loes was tagged with the loss, pitching 2.1 innings and allowing four hits, four earned runs and two walks.
Mitchell scored its only runs in the top of the fourth when Kendall Patrick led off with a double and Loes singled to right, scoring Patrick. Jordan Piper had an infield single to move Loes to third and Kyle Larson had an RBI groundout.
Post 22 put up four more runs in the bottom of the inning off Larson, who relieved Loes.
Larson pitched 1.2 innings, allowing five earned runs and five hits. Alex Bennett entered the game in the fifth inning.
With a 10-2 lead, Post 22 had a two-out two-RBI single up the middle to end the game.
“We spotted them too many runs with walks,” Norden said. “Then a couple base hits broke the game open. The difference between them and us is they don’t give you any free chances. They don’t walk anybody and they don’t boot the ball around much.”
For Mitchell, Ryan Buck and Sean DeVries each had two hits. Mitchell (31-22) had 10 total hits in the game.
After losing in the Class A Legion championship game a season ago, Mitchell seniors set a goal at the beginning of the season to win both the spring high school championship and the Legion championship. Even though the team fell short of its ultimate goal, Norden said the season was still a success.
“You look at the finishes: fourth three years ago, second last year and third this year, that’s a good start to a tradition,” Norden said. “It was good for these guys to win a spring championship, and to obviously get to Sunday was important.”