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Mitchell loses to Post 22, finishes season at 38-14

Mitchell’s Aaron Sudbeck delivers a pitch during the ninth inning of a Class A state Legion semifinal game against Rapid City Post 22 Saturday at Fitzgerald Stadium in Rapid City. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

RAPID CITY —There weren’t many dry eyes in the dugout Saturday as Mitchell Post 18’s season came to an end at the hands of Rapid City Post 22. Mitchell lost 14-10 under the lights at Fitzgerald Stadium of the Class A Legion state tournament.

“(Post 22) did a really good job of hitting with as many hits as they produced,” Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden said. “The guys that threw (Saturday) just didn’t have their best off speed stuff to hold their bats down.”

This was the third time the two teams met this season. Post 22 won the first game 15-1 in Rapid City, while Post 18 took the second one 4-0 in Mitchell. Mitchell ended the season 38-14, and Rapid City went on to defeat Brandon Valley 14-5 in the championship game Sunday.

Post 22 jumped out on Mitchell early, scoring four runs in the top of the first and second inning to take an 8-0 lead.

Rapid City scored its opening runs in the first inning on five hits — highlighted by a two-run double from the bat of Ryne Lees and a two-run single from Jake Ferdinand. Lees’ double was hit sharply on the ground just past the grasp of Mitchell first baseman Josh Schmidt to open up the scoring, while Ferdinand singled to left centerfield to give Post 22 a 4-0 lead.

Rapid City’s Greg Schaefer got the scoring started in the second inning with a two-run double, which scored Carter Wevik and Jacob James. Schaefer scored on a double by Matt Minnick, while Minnick scored the eighth run of the game for Post 22 on an RBI single from Lees.

Things looked bleak for Mitchell early on, but Post 18 bounced back and showed signs of life in the bottom of the second.

Mitchell scored five runs in the inning without recording a hit. Derek Miller led off the inning with a walk, Lakin Neugebauer followed suit and Michael Sadler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Kirby Fuerst drew a walk, which brought Miller home, and Landon Neugebauer was hit with a fastball by Rapid City starter Ben Sorensen in the next at-bat, scoring Lakin Neugebauer. Matt Larson became the sixth Mitchell player to reach base by walk or getting hit by a pitch, scoring Sadler to make the score 8-3.

Finally the string of uncontrolled pitching was broken up by Jared Schmidt, who grounded out to short on a fielder’s choice, which scored Fuerst. Josh Schmidt followed with a ground ball to Lees. Lees fielded the ball cleanly but on the throw to second base, the ball skipped past the glove of shortstop Tanner Simons and allowed Schmidt to reach first and Landon Neugebauer to score.

The five-run swing was enough to make Rapid City coach Mitch Messer pull Sorensen, who had allowed one hit. He had five walks and allowed one hit in his 2 2/3 innings of work.

“We played a great team in Mitchell,” Messer said. “They are a quality ball club and they certainly don’t quit. We were just fortunate enough to get the win. Ben (Sorensen) struggled with some control and at that point to keep us in the game I decided to go with Jesse Riddle.”

Riddle entered the game with two-outs with Mitchell runners on first and third. He struck out Miller, who was called out after a check swing in which the bat didn’t leave his shoulders. Riddle went on to pitch the next five innings, allowing five runs on six hits and walking three.

Post 22 added a run in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Wevik. The fifth was also the last inning for Mitchell starter Matt Larson, who gave up nine runs on nine hits in five innings of work.

Post 18 reliever Tyler Houwman pitched the next two innings, allowing three runs in the top of the seventh.

Rapid City scored two more in the top of the eighth off Dylanger Pierson, who was the third Post 18 pitcher to toe the mound Saturday. Aaron Sudbeck was the fourth and final pitcher to take the mound for Mitchell. He threw one inning and didn’t allow any hits or runs.

“We tried hard but some things just didn’t happen the way we wanted them to in key situations,” Houwman said. “I tried to help out as best as I could but I just didn’t have my best night (Saturday). ... They were a very good hitting team and they will hit it if it is in the zone, so you have to mix it up a lot.”

In trailing 14-6 in the bottom of the eighth, Mitchell mounted one last rally. After two ground outs, Josh Schmidt reached on a single to left field, and Miller and Lakin Neugebauer each drew walks to load the bases. Next, Sadler hit a towering double down the left field line to score Schmidt, Neugebauer and Miller. Sadler scored Post 18’s final run, when Pierson doubled to the left centerfield gap, to bring the score to 14-10.

Rapid City finished the game with 17 hits, while Mitchell had seven. Jared Schmidt was the only Post 18 player with multiple hits in the game.

NOTES — Before the game Sadler was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the South Dakota American Legion.