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CANOVA -- The baseball gods kept the sky clear enough in Canova Tuesday night, giving 51-year-old Kevin Leighton a chance at career home run No. 500. After a four-pitch walk in his first at-bat, Leighton -- who has almost 170 more career homers than any other South Dakota amateur baseball player -- saw a high fastball he sent soaring to deep center that dropped two feet shy of the 370-foot mark -- a long single. "That was my best chance of the night," said Leighton, who has 499 career South Dakota amateur home runs.
He's a 51-year-old home run crushing machine. Sunday in Canova, the Gangs' Kevin Leighton hammered a fastball on the second pitch he saw during an at-bat in a game against Harrisburg. He watched the ball sail over the fence for a grand slam, home run No. 499. Tonight Leighton goes for a milestone he never thought he would reach until about three or four years ago when he knocked over No. 450.
Arguably three of the most successful wrestlers in the last decade to come through the Mitchell program shared, showed and demonstrated their knowledge Thursday in the Mitchell High School wrestling room. Even more interesting than the fact they all have wrestled at the Division I collegiate level is the fact they all share the same last name. The first-ever Everson Brothers Wrestling Camp started Thursday morning.
With more than 400 combined prep victories, 11 combined state-place showings and three Division I collegiate wrestling careers, the Everson brothers know wrestling. Mitchell natives Andy, Matt and Adam Everson are returning to their hometown wrestling room Thursday to host the first-ever Everson Brothers Wrestling Camp. The three-day camp will host about 40 wrestlers ages kindergarten through senior high, and the three brothers will focus on different techniques throughout the length of the camp.
PLATTE -- Mitchell's Brett Young drilled a screaming line drive three-run homer over the center field fence. The blast ignited Post 18's offense in the fourth inning, helping the team take a five-run lead en route to an 18-4 win in eight innings over Platte-Geddes Monday night. "Brett had struggled a little bit as of the last couple games," Post 18 head coach Luke Norden said. "He's been working hard in the cage, and I've got his hands raised up a little more.
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.