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Mitchell routs Roosevelt, earns third seed in region

SIOUX FALLS -- The Mitchell baseball team took down Sioux Falls Roosevelt 9-1 in the final regular season game of the season Thursday to secure the third seed in Saturday's region tournament.

The Kernels will play No. 2 seed Sioux Falls O'Gorman at 2:30 p.m. at Ronken Field on the Augustana College campus in Sioux Falls. Roosevelt is the top seed and will play No. 4 Yankton to open the tournament at noon Saturday.

The Kernels put together a strong defensive stand despite an unplanned pitching change at the beginning of the game. Starter Aaron Sudbeck rolled his ankle coming out of the dugout in the first inning and Matt Larson had to take his place.

"Aaron was down for two minutes and then was cheering everyone on," Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. "One of the reasons we played so well was because of Aaron's support in the dugout after he got hurt. I couldn't have been happier."

Larson took the mound and had a one, two, three inning, which set the tone for the rest of the game. The junior got the win, giving up one unearned run on three hits while striking out five in 6 1/3 innings.

Offensively, Mitchell scored two runs in the third and fifth innings, before the Rough Riders threatened the Kernel lead in the bottom of the fifth. Roosevelt scored a run in the fifth, then loaded the bases with two outs.

"Matt got two guys to pop out in the infield to end the inning," Norden said. "He really got us out of the jam."

Mitchell proceeded to add to its lead with five runs in the top of the seventh. Jed Schmidt led the Kernels going 5-for-5 with two RBIs. Larson went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, Landon Neugebauer went 1-for-4 with an RBI and Derek Miller finished 1-for-4.

"We scored four runs with the bottom of our lineup," Norden said. "Putting pressure on our opponent with our entire lineup was key tonight."