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Home runs lead Post 18 past Rapid City Stars

Mitchell Post 18 pitcher Jed Schmidt throws a pitch against Rapid City Post 320 on Thursday at Cadwell Park. Post 18 won 5-2. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

Home runs prompted cheers Thursday at Cadwell Park.

The Post 18 Legion baseball team was led by the long ball with a home run from Matt Larson in the bottom of the first and Dylanger Pierson in the sixth inning to help Mitchell defeat Rapid City Post 320 5-2.

Starting pitcher Jacob Cersosimo was able to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam allowing just one run in the first.

Larson, Mitchell's leadoff hitter, belted a solo home run to open Post 18's offensive scoring. Larson said his approach was just to try and get on base for the hitters behind him, but he was able to produce a powerful swing.

"I got a pitch that was elevated and inside," Larson said. "I took it and it went out of here. It was a nice start to the game."

Cersosimo held Rapid City scoreless to start the second inning and the team was able to take a 3-1 lead into the third by capitalizing off a Rapid City error. Mitchell added a third run on a sacrifice fly by Michael Sadler.

The game remained 3-1 going into the sixth inning when Rapid City threatened with two runners on, but Mitchell was able to get out of the inning thanks to a deep running catch in the left field gap by Cersosimo.

"We had a couple of innings when they were able to get a leadoff guy or two on, and we made some big plays to get out of those innings," Post 18 coach Luke Norden said. "Every inning that we were able to not let them score with our good defense was huge for us."

In the bottom half of the inning, Pierson smacked a two-run home run to score Larson, putting Post 18 up 5-1.

Rapid City was able to score another run in the seventh inning to make the score 5-2 but it was held scoreless the rest of the way after Post 18 turned a couple of double plays to end the final two innings.

Post 18 (24-14) plays a doubleheader at 5 p.m. today in Huron, which is Mitchell's final regular-season meeting.

Larson said it was nice to see the players' bats bounce back as they prepare to start their postseason with regionals on Tuesday.

"Were not coming into regionals how we wanted by being the fourth seed, but we know what we have to do to advance," he said.

Mitchell has been named the fourth seed for the regional tournament and play Sioux Falls East at 1 p.m. on Tuesday in Yankton.