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YANKTON -- Mitchell head coach Luke Norden has watched Cade Hearnen take the mound many times in the past three years. So when Hearnen climbed the hill in what could have been his final start for Post 18, he picked the perfect time to throw what Norden called the best start of his career.
YANKTON -- Mitchell scored 39 total runs in two wins Wednesday, keeping the team alive in the Region 2A Legion baseball playoffs. Post 18 tallied nearly one-third of the day's runs in the third inning against Brandon Valley when it scored 11 runs en route to a 19-3 five-inning blowout win over the same team that knocked it from the winners' bracket. "We thought we owed them from (Tuesday)," Mitchell center fielder Cade Hearnen said.
YANKTON -- Brandon Valley kept the damage to a minimum all game, never allowing Mitchell to score more than two runs in an inning. The most important out for Brandon Valley -- the final out -- came in the bottom of the ninth after Mitchell scored two runs to creep within two. Alex Loes drilled a fastball to center field with Brett Young on second and Kendall Patrick on first. Brandon Valley's outfielder drifted to about 10 feet in front of the warning track to snag the line drive and end the Region 2A first-round game 12-10.
A loss to Brandon Valley last week could have been the push Mitchell needed into today's Region 2A Legion tournament. After stranding 16 runners on base in an 8-6 loss to Brandon Valley Thursday, Post 18 clobbered its next two opponents by a combined 31 runs. Mitchell defeated Platte-Geddes 18-3 one day after the frustrating loss to Brandon Valley, and the team put up 17 runs in a rout over Huron Saturday. "They're gearing up," said Post 18 coach Luke Norden, whose team went 25-18 during the regular season.
Aberdeen natives Dean and Tyler Zahn enjoyed the first time they golfed Lakeview Golf Course together. In their first and only golf tournament of the summer, the Zahns shot an even-par 72 at the South Dakota Golf Association Adult/Junior Championships Sunday at Lakeview to take the 16-18 age group along with the best overall score. "This is the only tournament we're going to play all summer," Dean said. "So it was nice that we won it." Dean hit a seven iron on the ninth hole to about five feet from the cup where Tyler knocked in the eagle.
Mitchell worked 11 walks and had seven batters hit by pitch in an 18-3, six-inning rout over Platte-Geddes Friday in a Legion baseball game at Drake Field. Post 18 scored in every inning but the second in what was Mitchell's second to last tune-up game before the regional tournament. The 10 hits on 18 runs was what the team needed after stranding 16 runners in an 8-6 loss Thursday to Brandon Valley -- the same team it faces Tuesday to open regions. "The last couple games have been our best hitting the ball on a line," Post 18 head coach Luke Norden said.
In the chute, being scared isn't an option. Armored with only their clenched fists and their flexed muscles -- and a hockey-style helmet if they choose -- bull- and bronc-riding cowboys are some of the toughest, most intense athletes in the world. Eight seconds?
Forestburg's Charles Zoss is in first place in the bull riding event after the first go-round of the 39th Annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo. Zoss and Tater Hins -- a bull rider from Huron -- were the only two bull riders who went all eight seconds to score points Thursday night at the Horseman's Sports Arena. Zoss' ride gave him a small edge with 82 points to Hins' 79. "It's nice to ride this close to home, but sometimes it's hard," said Zoss, who added he has been riding bulls for about 18 years.
A change in coach and a drop in class might be what the Mitchell girls' soccer team needs to get its first win in more than a year. The Mitchell Board of Education approved the hiring of Erin Konrad as the new girls' head soccer coach Monday night after former head coach Scott Duff moved back to his home state of North Carolina to be closer to his extended family. Even though Konrad was the only applicant for the position, Mitchell Activities Director Geoff Gross said she is a good fit. "She knows the girls and knows the program," Gross said.
When I realized there would be no Roger Wiltz column this week, I felt it was my duty as a regular outdoors enthusiast to serve his weekly readers in his absence. I was married on Sept. 27, 2008, so my one-year anniversary is coming up quickly. Even though I knew it could be an annual issue between my wife and I -- she promised it wouldn't -- duck opener looks to fall on the same weekend this year. I'm not too excited to tell her.