Post 18’s Zach Bennett gets walk-off hit to beat RC 320 9-8It’s been a while since Zach Bennett has felt this good — both physically and emotionally.
It’s been a while since Zach Bennett has felt this good — both physically and emotionally.
Bennett, who’s lately been benched with an injured collarbone, smashed a double to the right-center gap, scoring Derek Miller to help the Mitchell Legion baseball team to a 9-8 walk-off victory over Rapid City Post 320 Friday at Drake Field in Mitchell.
“Their pitcher was struggling for strikes, so I just teed off on it,” said Bennett, a right fielder who hasn’t seen much playing time since he injured the collarbone June 22 in a doubleheader against Vermillion. “You could see it coming.”
In the bottom of the ninth, Miller reached first on a looping, one-out single to right. It was his lone of hit of the game, coming at an opportune time. In the next at-bat, Bennett ripped the final hit of the day on a 2-1 count over the Rapid City center fielder’s head, sending Miller 270 feet for the winning run.
“He got a good jump from first,” Norden said. “It was a tough ball to read. The whole reason he was able to score was because he was able to get off first base far enough.”
Matt Larson picked up the win in relief for Post 18, which is now 31-19 and plays its final regular-season games at 2 p.m. today, a doubleheader against Mandan, N.D. The right-hander entered the game in the fifth inning with no outs. Rapid City scored two runs in the inning, both charged to Mitchell starter Kirby Fuerst.
Larson got out of the fifth and faced 10 batters in the next three innings combined.
“He did a really nice job coming in for us,” Bennett said.
Post 320 had a 6-1 lead entering the bottom of the fifth, when Mitchell’s bats finally came to life. Josh Schmidt cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple to right field, scoring Evan Mastel, Michael Sadler and Jared Schmidt. Josh Schmidt’s triple was his third hit of the game, and he added another single in the sixth inning and finished the day 4-for-5. He had two infield singles, the triple and a hard liner to center in the second inning.
“He would either hit it 2 feet or hit it a mile,” Bennett said. “That’s Josh for you.”
Mitchell scored four in the bottom of the sixth inning. Post 18’s biggest hit was a two-RBI double from Jared Schmidt, later followed by an RBI groundout from Seth Cavanaugh. Bennett also scored in the inning on a wild pitch.
After the sixth, Mitchell led 8-6. Post 320 led off the top of the ninth with a single, an error and a hit batter to load the bases. After a single and a double, Rapid City tied the game at 8, but Larson got the next two batters out to hold the score.
Then, Bennett finished the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Offensively, Mitchell finished with 14 hits. Sadler had two singles, Jared Schmidt had a single and a double and Cavanaugh had a single.
NOTES: Fuerst gave up seven hits, six runs, he walked one and hit three batters. … Mitchell is 1-2 against Mandan this year. All three games were on the road … Norden said four guys will pitch today. Neugebauer, Jared Schmidt, Cavanaugh and Miller will all see mound time today to get work in before the regional tournament.