Mitchell falls to RooseveltA day after opening the season with a 19-9 win over Hanson County, Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden didn’t see the same drive in his team. The lack of energy caused Mitchell to fall in an early 8-1 hole to Sioux Falls Roosevelt. The Kernels lost 15-6 on Saturday at Drake Field.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
A day after opening the season with a 19-9 win over Hanson County, Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden didn’t see the same drive in his team.
The lack of energy caused Mitchell to fall in an early 8-1 hole to Sioux Falls Roosevelt. The Kernels lost 15-6 on Saturday at Drake Field.
“I think just our drive to come out and play hard wasn’t really there,” Norden said. “We had a couple lapses (Friday against Hanson County), but we continued to play well the entire time.”
Roosevelt scored a couple of runs right away in the first inning on Scott Tyler’s two-run double.
Mitchell’s Jared Schmidt led off the bottom half of the inning with a single and later came around to score on Nick Young’s ground-out to second base.
Roosevelt was able to extend the lead to 4-1 in the second inning on Alex Portice’s RBI triple, and he later scored on Jared Frazier’s sacrifice fly to left. Roosevelt added another run in the third inning and three more in the fourth inning for the 8-1 lead.
Mitchell had a chance to score in the second inning with a runner on third and two outs, but Zach Bennett struck out to end the inning. Then in the third inning and runners on first and second with two outs, Josh Schmidt hit a ground ball to the shortstop to end the inning.
“I thought we had some good at-bats and we left some guys on base in some key situations,” Norden said.
Mitchell was able to push a couple runs across in the fourth inning when an error allowed Eric Bortnem to score and Bennett’s ground out scored Collin Moen. Mitchell scored another run in the fifth inning when Josh Schmidt’s two-out RBI single scored Jared Schmidt.
Roosevelt went up 9-4 in the sixth inning, but Bortnem scored on a double steal and Moen came home on Lakin Neugebauer’s RBI ground-out.
But after cutting Roosevelt’s lead to 9-6, Mitchell gave up six runs in the seventh inning.
“When we got to 9-6, I thought we had the momentum swung a little bit,” Norden said. “But having a couple of poor at-bats in one inning and not scoring a few runs earlier cost us a chance.”
Mitchell also committed three errors in the seventh inning and a total of six errors in the game.
Norden said the errors caused the three pitchers he used — Josh Schmidt, Nick Young and Evan Mastel — to throw much more pitches than he wanted them too.
“I threw two guys, Josh Schmidt and Nick Young, who are going to be key factors for us this spring, but I didn’t want to throw them too much,” he said. “Both of their pitch counts could’ve been lower if we would’ve played a little better defense.”
Schmidt took the loss, going four innings and allowing eight runs — seven earned — eight hits, two walks. He also struck out two batters. Young pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief and gave up seven runs, three earned, six hits and struck out five. Mastel pitched the other 1/3 inning.
After having Sunday off, Mitchell returns to action against Corsica at 5:30 p.m. today at Drake Field and plays Sioux Falls Washington at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Drake Field.
Norden said he is glad he has two more games before the team’s first region game against Rapid City Central on Friday.
“I think the sole purpose of playing these first four games … is to get at-bats,” he said. “It’s good to get the kinks out because the region games are the most important.
“Being ready for Friday is our No. 1 goal right now with these first four games.”