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Notebook: Region 2A showcases talent

RAPID CITY — Region 2A was well represented at the Class A Legion state tournament over the weekend.

Three teams from the region made it to the fourth day of competition with one advancing to the championship game.

Sioux Falls West, Sioux Falls East, Yankton, Mitchell and Brandon Valley make up the region. Of those five teams, Mitchell, Brandon Valley and West each competed at this year’s state tournament.

The performance of the three teams left their coaches very proud of the show that region teams put on.

“I am proud of the three teams from Region 2A, and we represented ourselves real well out here,” Sioux Falls West baseball coach Joel Sage said. “The region was deep, even Yankton put a nice run on at the end of the season. They won a game at the region tournament, and they were a five seed.”

Mitchell and West opened up the tournament in a head-to-head matchup. Heading into the tournament, Post 18 was the region’s champion with two wins over Brandon Valley and one victory over West. No matter the previous outcomes, West won the game 9-4 at the state tournament in the opening round. West was the only team to hold Mitchell to less than 10-runs at state.

“The last two years the wild card team has come from our region,” said Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden, whose team went 4-4 in region play during the regular season. “But we might be done with this region with Harrisburg coming in. This might be a last hurrah for our region if they decide to shake things up.”

After falling to West, Mitchell bounced back with wins against Spearfish and Pierre. Post 18 defeated Spearfish 15-7 Thursday and Pierre 16-2 Friday before succumbing to Rapid City Post 22 Saturday.

After defeating Mitchell, Sioux Falls West beat Watertown in a 15-14 thriller before falling to Rapid City Post 22 4-0. West was eliminated after dropping a 3-2 decision to Region 2A compatriot Brandon Valley Saturday.

West reached state after beating Huron in the wild-card play-in game 15-5 on July 27. At state, West battled through the loser’s bracket after dropping a close 6-5 opening game to Rapid City Post 22.

Brandon Valley, who finished second at the region tournament, reached championship at the state tournament but fell 14-5 to Rapid City to rake runner up. En route to the championship game, Brandon Valley eliminated Aberdeen, Watertown and Sioux Falls West.

“We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough year for us,” Brandon Valley baseball coach Grant Hieb said. “We battled each other all year, and we have showed around the state that we have good talent out east.

“Everyone knows about Post 22. They are the team to beat around the state, but I think the east side of the state is making a name for itself.”

All three Region 2A teams seemed to have their way with every team from another Region outside of Rapid City Post 22. The Hardhats defeated all three teams en route to reaching the championship game.

Mitchell has good hitting performance

Through four days at the Class A Legion state tournament, Mitchell scored the most runs of any team.

Mitchell scored 45 runs, which is five more than Rapid City Post 22’s 40 and 10 more than third-best Brandon Valley, which had 35. After Sunday’s games, Rapid City ended the tournament with 54 runs an Brandon Valley finished with 37.

Some Post 18 players also racked up impressive numbers at the plate.

Dylanger Pierson and Josh Schmidt led Post 18 in hits with nine apiece. Jared Schmidt was not far behind with eight. Matt Larson had six hits in the four games, while Derek Miller and Lakin Neugebauer each had five.

Pierson tallied the highest batting average on the team during the tournament with a .692 mark. His .692 batting average was the second best of anyone in the tournament, behind Aberdeen’s Lucas Lorenz. Jared Schmidt hit .409, Josh Schmidt hit .421, Larson hit .315 and Neugebauer and Miller each hit .333 for the tournament.

Larson, both Schmidts and Pierson all had hits in each of the four games in the tournament.

Jared Schmidt and Michael Sadler also finished among the leaders in most RBIs in the tournament. Sadler recorded eight RBIs, which was third best and Jared Schmidt had the fourth most with seven.