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Mitchell pounds Pierre 16-2

Mitchell’s Dylanger Pierson slides into home safely past the tag of Pierre catcher Austin Wagner in an elimination game Friday at the State A Legion Tournament at Fitzgerald Field in Rapid City. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

RAPID CITY — Mitchell Post 18 showed no mercy as its offense wasted no time putting up runs Friday.

Post 18 scored nine runs in the first inning and cruised to a 16-2 win over Pierre Post 8 to advance to the fourth day of the Class A Legion state tournament in Rapid City. The game was called after the seventh inning due to mercy rule.

Mitchell will play Rapid City Post 22 at 6 p.m. Central time today.

“We were all looking at the fastball,” Mitchell first baseman Dylanger Pierson said. “Matt Larson started off the game by getting on first. Once he got on, everyone was like ‘Holy cow,’ and we score nine runs in the inning.”

Pierson made large contributions to Mitchell’s 17-hit performance as he finished the day 4-for-4, including an RBI double.

After Larson reached first base in the first inning, what happen next was an onslaught of offensive production. With one out, Jared Schmidt started the scoring with an RBI double. Next, Josh Schmidt and Derek Miller each recorded RBI singles.

The scoring continued in the inning when Pierson singled home Josh Schmidt after Lakin Neugebauer singled to load the bases.

With the score 3-0 with one out, Michael Sadler ripped a double to left centerfield, which scored Miller, Neugebauer and Pierson. The bases-clearing hit was enough to force Pierre starter Alec Norwick out of the game. Norwick went 1/3 of an inning, giving up seven runs on six hits.

“We kind of ran out of pitching today,” Pierre baseball coach Matt Sisk said. “The guys that we had to pitch today didn’t do as well as they normally do.”

Pierre brought in a Gage Curtis to slow the Mitchell bats, but the hot hitting continued as Jared and Josh Schmidt each recorded RBI singles to bring the first-inning score to 9-0.

The inning finally ended when Miller grounded to second. Post 18 finished the inning with eight hits.

“When you get to hit that many times in the first inning, guys get a chance to get pretty comfortable at the plate,” said Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden, whose team is 38-13. “The quality at-bats early in the game allowed everybody to hit and get comfortable.”

While the Mitchell bats were on fire, Josh Schmidt was just the same on the mound. He held the Pierre bats at bay for the better part of his outing.

Schmidt threw five innings, allowing one run on seven hits. The only run Schmidt gave up came in the bottom of the second inning when Ryan Goodwin singled home Curtis, who led off the inning with a double. Schmidt quickly recovered and retired the next three batters by strikeout, fly out and ground out.

Kirby Fuerst, who has been battling arm injuries, pitched in relief. He threw two innings, allowing one unearned run and two hits.

“It was a good day,” Josh Schmidt said. “I was throwing fastballs for strikes and listening to my catcher (Sadler), who told me to throw off speed, and I had a lot of help from my defense.”

Friday marked the second straight day the Mitchell Legion team recorded double-digit runs. Post 18 scored 15 runs Thursday to defeat Spearfish.

Friday was also the third straight day Post 18 has recorded double-digit hits. Mitchell had 11 hits against Sioux Falls West on the first day of the tournament and 17 hits against Spearfish and Pierre.