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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.
The Mitchell Mad Dogs amateur baseball team was stifled for three hits by Platte pitcher Austin Ringling Thursday night at Cadwell Park. Ringling and the Killer Tomatoes shut down numerous Mitchell scoring opportunities, ending the Sunshine League game 13-3 after seven innings on the 10-run rule. Ringling pitched the complete shortened game, striking out seven batters and allowing one run in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings.
As jerseys rippled violently in the wind, hats flew off several players' heads and dust clouds swirled in the infield, Mitchell stayed focused. With winds sometimes gusting more than 35 miles per hour at game time, the Mitchell baseball team calmly jumped on top of Sturgis after allowing one first-inning run en route to a 15-2 blowout that lasted four and a half innings. "The adversity doesn't matter -- the cold temperatures or wind blowing or whatever," Mitchell head coach Luke Norden said. "The guys didn't really focus on that.
Ten runs could be the magic number for the Mitchell baseball team today. The No. 1-seeded Kernels, who open the first round of the regional playoffs against No. 4-seeded Sturgis at 4:30 p.m. at Cadwell Park, have had no problems scoring runs this season. They are averaging 10.4 runs per game and have scored at least that many in 10 of their 15 games.
It didn't bother Alex Loes and the rest of the Mitchell offense to wait an extra day to finish a doubleheader against Rapid City Central. Mitchell scored seven runs Friday evening in the first inning before the rain came that eventually postponed the remainder until Saturday afternoon, giving way to a game-shortened 12-2 win by Mitchell. "We tried to go out and act like it was a 0-0 game," Loes said.