Mitchell baseball team's bats go cold in 3-1 lossAfter two Mitchell batters stepped to the plate, the Kernels were threating to take an early lead on Sioux Falls Roosevelt.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
After two Mitchell batters stepped to the plate, the Kernels were threatening to take an early lead on Sioux Falls Roosevelt.
Zach Bennett’s RBI triple to left-center scored Lakin Neugebauer to tie the game at 1, and Mitchell had its 3, 4 and 5 hitters up in hopes to push Bennett across.
The run never came. A tapper to the pitcher by Seth Cavanaugh, a ground out to third from Jared Schmidt and what looked to be a single to right by Josh Schmidt turned into the third out in Mitchell’s 3-1 loss Thursday at Cadwell Park in a high school baseball game.
Mitchell (13-7) had three hits. The Kernels looked as if they’d get three hits in the first inning when Josh Schmidt slapped a liner to right. But he was thrown out at first base to end the inning, negating the run Bennett could have scored.
Bennett singled up the middle in the third inning for his team’s third and final hit, but no Kernels base runner reached third after the first inning.
“We had an opportunity to play ahead in the first inning,” Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. “We failed to do so, and that was basically the back-breaker in the game for us.”
Roosevelt (18-5) scored two runs off Mitchell lefthander Brent Havlik, who tossed five innings and struck out eight. He allowed five hits, three walks and two earned runs.
Havlik struck out the first two batters of the game, but walked Scott Tyler, who scored on John Wessel’s single through the infield. In the third, Connor Grove drew a one-out walk and scored on a double from Tyler for the go-ahead run. Roosevelt leadoff hitter Seth Bjordal walked to open the seventh inning and scored on a sacrifice fly from Justin Warne.
After squandering their chances at an early lead, the Kernels batted three men in the second, third and fourth innings. Bennett’s single was the last hit in the game for the Kernels, and he was caught stealing to end the third. Jared Schmidt reached on an error in the fourth, but he was thrown out at second during an attempted hit-and-run, when his twin brother, Josh, was at the plate.
Neugebauer reached second in the sixth but was stranded after a strikeout and a groundout.
Despite the lack of offense after the first inning, Norden continued to go back to his team’s early missed chance at a lead.
“Our first inning has been our best inning all season long,” Norden said. “The runs we put up in the first inning, we’re averaging over a run per game in the first inning. To have a guy on third with no outs … and not score him is not going to win a baseball game.”
Roosevelt pitcher Austin Smith pitched a complete game. He struck out four batters, including the last two of the game, walked two and threw only 72 pitches.
Roosevelt coach Joel Sage said Smith’s mental toughness showed early, when he pitched out of the early jam in the first.
“Anytime you strand a runner on third with nobody out, it’s great for you and a little bit demoralizing for your opponent,” Sage said after the game. “He definitely looked like our ace tonight.”
NOTES: Norden got into an altercation with the umpires for several minutes during the bottom of the sixth inning when Neugebauer was on second base. Smith requested a new ball, and it appeared no umpire called time when the exchange took place. Neugebauer took off on the play and reached third, but he was sent back to second when the umpire said time had been called. … Mitchell’s doubleheader against Sioux Falls O’Gorman Saturday has been canceled. … Mitchell has three regular-season games left before hosting the regional tournament May 19. The Kernels are making up a regional game against Huron at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Cadwell Park. Then, they host Brandon Valley in a doubleheader, starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.