Pheasants pound their way to second round
Not long after the rain stopped falling at Cadwell Park, the Winner/Colome Pheasants started scoring runs.
A thunderstorm delayed the start of the opening game of the Class B South Dakota Amateur Baseball Tournament for 2 hours and 9 minutes, but it didn't slow the Sunshine League runner-ups from advancing to the second round. Winner/Colome jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and cruised to 8-2 win over Dell Rapids PBR on Wednesday.
"It started on defense, Derek (Graesser) threw strikes and we had nice plays to get off the field quickly," Winner/Colome manager Kevin Graesser said. "It carried over to the bats and any time you can jump on someone right away, it takes the pressure off."
Derek Graesser pitched a quick scoreless top of the first inning and the Pheasant offense gave him an early 2-0 lead after Austin Richey laced a two-out, two-run triple to the right field fence.
"All of our guys know what's at stake here, we know we have a good team and we didn't want to spoil that by not being ready to play," Richey said. "A lot of times with those rain delays, it's tough to get momentum going."
Winner/Colome (16-8) tacked onto its lead with five runs in the bottom of the third inning. Austin Calhoon hit an RBI single to score Reed Harter, while Derek Graesser scored and Calhoon advanced to second base on an error. Calhoon came around to score on an RBI single by Richey. Richey's courtesy runner Riley Calhoon was thrown out advancing to third on a Jared Donahue single, but Donahue came around to score on a double down the left field line by Zach Harter. Zach Harter scored the final run of the big inning on a RBI single by Geno Katz.
Dell Rapids PBR (3-21) got two runs back in the top of the fourth inning as Canova pick-up player Derek Miller smacked a single that scored Wyatt Winklepleck. Miller came around to score on a balk.
"When you fall behind a good pitcher like Graesser you are in trouble," longtime Dell Rapids PBR player Dale Solberg said. "We didn't get the hits together and we got beat by a better team. They are good."
The Pheasants added one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Derek Graesser picked up the win, scattering four hits, giving up two earned runs and recording 11 strikeouts and two walks in seven innings pitched. Reed Harter tossed the final two innings, not allowing a hit and recording four strikeouts.
"Derek threw strikes and then Reed came in and did a real nice job," Kevin Graesser said. "Hopefully, we have enough depth there (pitching) and we'll be ready for the next game."
Brett Mogen, a South Dakota State University baseball player, took the loss, allowing seven runs (four earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts and two walks in 2 2/3 innings pitched.
Jalen Boyd tossed 2 and 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits, while Miller finished the game.
Richey finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Reed Harter, Derek Graesser and Donahue each added two hits.
The Pheasants will face the winner between Vermillion Grey Sox and Clark Traders at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday at Cadwell Park.
Dell Rapids PBR 000 200 000 — 2 4 3
Winner/Colome 205 001 000 — 8 13 0
WP: Derek Graesser LP: Brett Mogen. Pitchers: Winner/Colome: Derek Graesser and Reed Harter. Dell Rapids PBR: Brett Mogen, Jalen Boyd and Derek Miller. Doubles: W/C: Zach Harter, Graesser; Triples: W/C: Austin Richey