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The Mitchell Teener White VFW baseball team has 20 players on its roster this year, a mark that hasn't been seen in recent memory, Director of Mitchell Baseball Operations Kent VanOverschelde said. Although the roster jumped only five to six players more than the recent norm, the spike is quite significant.
Let's start swinging the lumber. The Mitchell Post 18 Legion baseball team is headed to a three-day wooden bat tournament that starts today, and if last year is any indication of how much the team enjoys using the non-traditional sticks, it should have no problem again this year. A year ago at the Lewis and Clark Wooden Bat Tournament, Post 18 outscored its opponents 34-7 en route to a 6-0 record, earning a championship trophy. "It's kind of a change of pace and the games go pretty quick," Post 18 head coach Luke Norden said.
After stranding 13 men through seven innings, Mitchell finally figured out how to drive its base runners across. Post 18 scored 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, rallying from a 7-5 deficit and beating Sioux Falls West 15-8 Tuesday night at Cadwell Park. The offensive explosion started with Brett Young, who opened the inning with his third walk of the game. After Young, Kendall Patrick and Alex Loes each reached to load the bases, Jordan Piper got Post 18 within one run on a deep sacrifice fly to center.
It's not every day a baseball team scores 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull ahead for a win. But with Mitchell's offense, it's probably a little more often. The Post 18 roster is nearly identical to the Kernel roster that just won a spring high school state championship, and that team averaged more than 10 runs per game and scored at least that many in 13 of its 19 contests. So when Mitchell put together a 10-run rally Tuesday night against Sioux Falls West Post 15, it wasn't that surprising.
RAPID CITY -- Behind non-dominant days from Brigitte and Bethany Gross, the Hanson girls' track team still won the state title for the second consecutive year. Before the meet, the senior twins were seeded No. 1 in four separate events and also were a part of the top time in the 4X400-meter relay. Through all of the individual events, Bethany was the only one to grab a first-place finish, which was in the 400-meter run.
SPEARFISH -- Wagner sophomore Jessica Koupal has been pole vaulting for exactly one year and three weeks. And when she earned first place in the event Friday at the Class A track and field meet, she wasn't so surprised, but more relieved. Koupal, who finished one spot out of medaling in last year's state meet, hoisted herself to a height of 10-feet-3 to beat out her closet competitor by nine inches. After she hit that height, which is three inches shorter than her personal record, she waited for an Ipswitch athlete to try and match.
Ethan/Parkston's Alex Muntefering holds two top times and a second-fastest mark heading into today's Class A state track and field meet in Spearfish. The senior, who severly injured big toe in a farming accident last year, is back on the track scene and ran the second-fastest time in South Dakota history and the 18th-best time in the nation in the 800-meter run at the Howard Wood Relays. He won the event with a mark of 1:52.46.
Although discus is his specialty, Andes Central's Cody Snyder enjoys throwing the shot put too, even if he's not the conventional bulky-brute thrower. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior has the No. 1 distance in both the discus and shot put heading into the Class B state meet, but he credits his father for helping him become the field athlete he has become after starting the sport in seventh grade. "I'm smaller than pretty much everyone that does shot, but it's more technique than size," Snyder said.
Monday, the Mitchell baseball team checked off its first of two major goals it set last August after a heartbreaking loss in the Legion championship game. Today, the quest for the second goal begins. The Mitchell Legion Post 18 baseball team kicks off its season at 6 p.m. today in one nine-inning game against Brookings at Cadwell Park. Mitchell is looking to sweep the Class A state titles this season, which is a goal the team made almost immediately after Aberdeen's late come-from-behind victory to win the Legion title last summer.
YANKTON -- Thirty-five miles from where the first pitch was thrown, the last out was made, giving St. Thomas More its first state baseball championship two years into its existence. The Class B state tournament started in Freeman at Merchants State Bank Field Monday, but almost five innings through the championship game a massive downpour flooded the field to force Stickney/Mount Vernon/Hanson/Ethan and St.