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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.
SIOUX FALLS -- Tyler Osterloo accomplished one of his season goals Thursday by getting his 20th wins in both singles and doubles matches. Friday, he knocked down his other goal. After beating No. 3-seeded Sioux Falls Roosevelt senior Kyle Lambertz for the first time in his career, Osterloo, a sophomore and the No. 6 seed, advanced to the semifinals of the No. 1 flight, earning him an automatic top-four finish. "I've finished all the goals I've set this year," Osterloo said.
It was exactly a year ago on Monday that Mitchell lost a 9-1 game to Aberdeen in the semifinals of the state high school tournament. Time for a rematch. In the exact same scenario on the exact same day a year later, the Kernels get their chance at revenge. Aberdeen and Mitchell open the state tournament Monday, which will be played at Pete Lein Field in Rapid City at 12:30 p.m. CDT (11:30 a.m. MDT). In a win-or-go-home situation, Mitchell and Aberdeen will play for the right to get into the state championship game against the winner of Sioux Falls O'Gorman and Sioux Falls Washington.
Call it unfinished business. The last time Mitchell and Aberdeen met up on a baseball field, Mitchell -- which held a 1-0 lead going into the ninth inning -- left the Legion state title game empty handed. Back up a few months prior, and Aberdeen knocked Mitchell out of the high school state tournament in the semifinals. Monday, Mitchell will get its chance at revenge in the first round of the state tournament at Pete Lein Field in Rapid City against what could be called their most recent rival.
FREEMAN -- The Mount Vernon boys edged Freeman Academy by 3.5 points, while Molly Kokesh and the Scotland girls took the Region 5B track and field title Thursday in Freeman. Kokesh won the 800-meter run, she qualified for the state meet in three events and she set a new region record in the 1,600-meter run, shattering the previous record by more than nine seconds. Wessington Springs' Mindy Kraft edged the Scotland senior for the first three laps of the race, but Kokesh pulled away in the final lap to beat Kraft, who also qualified for state in the event, by more than 10 seconds.
Hoping to use some momentum going into the state tournament, Mitchell's No. 1 doubles team won the Eastern South Dakota conference title last weekend for the first time ever. This season, senior Chase Jamison and sophomore Tyler Osterloo teamed for their second year and have hopes of finishing their final go around together with a strong showing at the state tournament, which starts at 9 a.m. today and runs through Saturday in Sioux Falls. "It's a great momentum builder if we can carry that through," Mitchell head coach Gayle Klein said.
Though it took a little longer than originally thought, the Mitchell baseball team is headed back to the state tournament. The Kernels were holding an 11-run lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, needing only three outs to seal their third 10-run rule win in as many games, but, when Central scored two runs in the top of the inning, it forced the Kernels wait a six more outs before officially earning the title of Region 3A champions. The Kernels defeated Central for the third time of the season and remained undefeated against all regional opponents, winning 12-6 Saturday at Cadwell Park.
Spotty early in the season, the Mitchell pitching staff has redeemed itself as of late. In the first round of the Region 3A playoffs, Cade Hearnen, who entered the game with a 12.44 ERA, took to the mound, allowing two runs in a shortened blowout of Sturgis. In the previous game against Rapid City Central, two Mitchell pitchers -- Jordan Piper and Alex Loes -- combined to give up two runs in another shortened blowout to end the regular season. Although Kernel pitchers will hope for strong, continued run support throughout the season, head coach Luke Norden is not taking any chances.
With two tournaments left on the schedule, the four seniors on the Mitchell boys' varsity tennis team are gearing up for their final days in Kernels' uniforms. The No. 3, 4 and 6 singles players for the Kernels are all seniors, and starting today in Watertown, those three and Cole Bruscher, who plays only on varsity doubles, will enter their final Eastern South Dakota Conference tennis tournament. Bruscher and No. 4 singles player Drake Brands have teamed for the majority of the season at No. 3 doubles.