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The Mitchell Kernels know defense wins championships. Through the team's first handful of practices, an emphasis on keeping opposing teams off the scoreboard was on the mind of both players and coaches. Mitchell's defense allowed 281 points in 11 games last year, for an average of 25.5 points per game. On the flip side, the Kernel offense averaged 32.1 points per game, allowing the team to have its first winning season since 2011 and reach the Class 11AA semifinals.
Tyson Gau isn't a stranger to the Class B state amateur baseball championship game. The Alexandria native's first-ever start in amateur baseball was in the 2010 title game as a Legion pick-up player for the Dimock-Emery Raptors. Gau earned the win, picking up two strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings pitched. Six years later, Gau was back on the mound in the Class B championship game as a seasoned veteran for the Alexandria Angels.
The Mitchell High School boys golf team will hit the links for the first tournament today in Brandon and head coach Mark Horan said he's "anxious" to see the team compete. "We're looking pretty good after our first full week of practice," Horan said. "In all my years coaching, I don't think I've ever had more players play all summer long." Mitchell placed 10th at the Class AA state meet last year and returns three players from that team.
The Mitchell High School boys soccer team wants to play at a high rate of speed this season. Heading into its first game of the season—4 p.m. today at Brookings—Mitchell has been busy working to improve its speed and decision-making on the ball. "We need to play our game and with the speed of play that we want to," MHS head coach Ken Novak said. "It's going to be key for us to move the ball through midfield quickly." In preparation for the season, the boys soccer team has done three-a-day practices starting on Aug. 1.
There was no shortage of energy at the Mitchell High School football team's first practice on Thursday. Like every team across the state, the Kernels laced up the cleats and put on the pads for the first time this season as Thursday, was the designated start date, set by the South Dakota High School Activities Association, for organized high school football practices.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Faces at the State Amateur Baseball Tournament is a regular series, profiling one contributor, worker, player, manager or fan a day during the duration of the Class B state tournament. There's been one voice echoing around the Class B state amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park for the past three years. Joe Van Goor, the radio voice for University of South football and men's basketball teams, started announcing the state amateur tournament in 2014 and is finishing up his third year announcing the annual year-end tournament.
There will be a new champion in Class B amateur baseball. Behind crucial two-out hitting, the Dell Rapids Mudcats held off the 2015 state champion Parkston Mudcats 5-2 in the quarterfinals of the state tournament on Thursday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. Dell Rapids scored all five runs with two outs against Parkston ace Brady Nolz. "I just couldn't get that third out," Nolz said. "Hats off to them; they battled with two outs. A lot of teams will just give up with two outs, but they scored all five with two outs."
It wasn't a matter of if, but when, for the Alexandria Angels on Wednesday. After being held scoreless through four innings, the undefeated Angels broke loose for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, propelling Alexandria past the Freeman Black Sox 9-2 in a second-round game at the Class B state amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
After one of the most successful seasons in school history, the Mitchell High School girls soccer team will be searching for a new identity this season. Mitchell finished with a record of 5-8 last year and missed the playoffs by two spots. This year, the team will be without five starters due to graduation—most notably, Kayla Stangeland, who set the school record for goals in a season (15) and is now playing for the University of Minnesota-Crookston.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Faces at the State Amateur Baseball Tournament is a regular series, profiling one contributor, worker, player, manager or fan a day during the duration of the Class B state tournament. Matt Larson was in a familiar spot on Tuesday night.