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O’Gorman hangs on to top Mitchell baseball

Mitchell pitcher Tyler Houwman throws a pitch in the fourth inning of a spring baseball game against Sioux Falls O’Gorman Tuesday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. (Nick McCucheon/Republic)

Sioux Falls O’Gorman jumped to a big lead and held on to defeat the Mitchell Kernels 9-7 in high school baseball action Tuesday.

Mitchell is now 6-2 on the year with all six wins coming on the road. This contest was also the first matchup with a region opponent.

O’Gorman jumped ahead in the first inning as Jaden Holzer doubled, stole second and third and then scored on a Mitchell error.

Kernel starting pitcher Aaron Sudbeck escaped the first without further damage.

Mitchell tied the contest at 1 in the bottom of the first without a hit. Matt Larson reached second on a throwing error and moved to third on a Spencer Neugebauer ground out. Larson scored on a Knight wild pitch.

O’Gorman took the lead in the second inning as Andrew White, Connor Nagel and Sam Nesbitt each singled to load the bases with nobody out. After a foul out, Holzer grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring White.

Sudbeck got into trouble again in the third inning. The Knights loaded the bases on two walks and a hit. Alex Linneman scored on an error. After a force out at home plate, a walk forced in a run, giving O’Gorman a 4-1 lead.

The Kernels answered in their half of the third inning as Ben Miller was hit by a pitch.

The Knights broke the game open in the fourth inning, scoring four runs with two out.

According to Mitchell coach Luke Norden, the fourth inning should not have happened.

“I brought in Tyler (Houwman), who’s one our best relief pitchers to try to give us a chance to come back and win the game,” Norden said. “We should have been out of the inning and that was four runs that cost us a chance to win the game.”

The Knights scored one more run in the fifth inning and had a commanding 9-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.

The Kernels loaded the bases with one out when Houwman laced a single, scoring two runs and drawing Mitchell to within 9-5. With two outs, Sam Michels hit a single to score two more runs to reduce the O’Gorman lead to 9-7. But Ben Miller flew out to end the game.

“We had some good at-bats the last inning,” Norden added. “We didn’t have that many errors but just didn’t play full speed. And that allowed us to not make some plays that we should have made that allowed them to score more runs than they needed to.”

Neugebauer went 3-for-4 with a double and a run batted in. Houwman and Michels each had two runs batted in. The Kernels combined for six hits and two errors.

Mitchell’s region includes O’Gorman, Sioux Falls Roosevelt and Yankton, and each game is huge, according to Norden. The No. 1 seed will host the region tournament.

“The best part of today is that we saw two of their best pitchers,” Norden said. “Going forward when we play them again in the region tournament, it’s good to see their best guys. At least we’ll see them with some at bats against them.”

The Kernels hosts Roosevelt at 6 p.m. Thursday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.