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Dimock/Emery knocked out of state tourney

Dimock/Emery catcher Jeremy Zens, left, tags Larchwood's (Iowa) Tyler Kruse in the South Dakota Class B state amateur baseball tournament Friday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

In an extra-innings pitchers' duel at the South Dakota Class B state amateur baseball tournament, the Dimock/Emery Raptors fell to the Larchwood (Iowa) Diamonds 2-1 Friday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.

The Raptors' Phil Johnson and the Diamonds' Kacie Merle went inning for inning in a soggy, defensive game that lasted 12 innings.

"Everybody was locked in," Larchwood manager Chris Underberg said. "That's one of the top five games I've ever been a part of in my life."

Larchwood's Travis Feekes hit a single into center field that scored Michael Standley from second base for the winning run.

"It's one of those games where if one ball bounces one way or the other, that was going to decide the game," Dimock/Emery manager Brad Bartscher said. "That's how it went, and one of us had to lose."

Larchwood (10-10) advances to play Irene at 8 p.m. Monday at Cadwell Park. Dimock/Emery finishes its season 23-8 and is eliminated.

Merle, a University of Sioux Falls baseball and basketball recruit, finished with nine innings pitched, allowing one run off seven hits and striking out four. Underberg said Merel has only pitched in three games for Larchwood this season, winning each game.

"The spotlight doesn't seem to get to him," Underberg said. "He just goes out and does his business."

Johnson pitched 10 innings for the Raptors, giving up one run off eight hits and striking out seven. Bartscher said he wasn't surprised by Johnson's strong performance on the mound and Johnson gave his team a chance to win the game.

"It was just another day at the park for him," Bartscher said. "He's going to be a competitor game-in and game-out. It doesn't matter who he's pitching against, he's going give it all he's got."

Kyle Larson relieved Johnson in the 11th inning for Dimock/Emery and took the loss. Jon VanBeek came in for relief in the 10th inning for Larchwood and earned the win.

After a scoreless five innings, Dimock/Emery was able to break through in the top of the sixth, scoring a run on an infield single by Doug Sudbeck. Larchwood quickly responded in the bottom of the inning with Chase Vanderfeen hitting a leadoff single and scoring a run, tying the game at 1.

The Diamonds looked to take the first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Tyler Kruse was thrown out at home by Josh Engquist.

The District 5 runner-up, Dimock/Emery, threatened to take the lead in the top of the eighth after a leadoff double by Jared Schmidt. Diamonds turned an inning-ending double play off a sharply hit line drive by Engquist.

Larchwood, out of the Sioux Empire League, hit back-to-back singles and loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but Johnson and the Raptors were able to work out of the jam.

The Raptors threatened to take a lead in the ninth when Jeremy Zens stroked a one-out double to the gap in left field, but he was left stranded on third after Merle got Sam Pischke to ground out to shortstop Koury Kramer.

Johnson said the team failed to produce enough hits when it needed them the most.

"We didn't make all the plays we should have today," Johnson said. "It was tough conditions with wet balls, but you can't take anything away from them."