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MHS baseball falls in region tourney, ends season

Mitchell third baseman Jacob Rice fields a ground ball in a regional tournament game against Sioux Falls O’Gorman Saturday at Karras Park in Sioux Falls. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS — The No. 3 seed Kernel baseball team was knocked out of the region tournament in its opening game, falling to No. 2 seed Sioux Falls O’Gorman 6-4 Saturday at Karras Park in Sioux Falls.

This is the first time Mitchell hasn’t made state since the 2011 season. Sioux Falls O’Gorman won the region to advance to the state tournament, which is Saturday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. Brookings, Pierre and Sioux Falls Lincoln also earned berths to state.

“With new faces and younger guys, it was a learning process through the spring season,” Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. “The guys got more comfortable as the season went along and the last few weeks as far as productivity in practice and games have been the best we’ve played.”

The Kernels (13-13) had a quick start Saturday against O’Gorman, building up a 3-0 lead heading into the fourth inning.

“Derek (Miller) was throwing extremely well,” Norden said. “Of the first nine outs, six were slow groundouts that defensively we handled real well.”

The Knights rallied to score four runs and take the lead.

“O’Gorman got two singles to start the fourth and it seemed like our energy deflated,” Norden said. “We weren’t the same after that inning.”

The Kernels lessened the Knights’ lead in the sixth inning after scoring a run but were unable to regain the lead.

“We were thrown out at the plate a few times and we put ourselves in position to tie the game or take in the lead in every inning,” Norden said.

Miller took the loss on the mound, giving up six earned runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out one and walked two. Tyler Houwman got the final out for Mitchell.

Offensively, Dylanger Pierson led the Kernels going 1-for-4 with an RBI. Jed Schmidt, Ben Miller and Mitch Johnson each added a hit.

Mitchell begins its Legion season May 26.