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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.
On a soggy evening scheduled for a doubleheader, the Mitchell baseball team got one dominant win before the misty rain came, postponing the second game until today. Kernels' ace Brett Young frustrated Rapid City Central batters in the first game, striking out 10 in a complete-game, three-hit shoutout. Mitchell defeated Rapid City 8-0. In the second game, Mitchell scored seven first-inning runs and held a 7-1 lead midway through the bottom of the second until a 25-minute rain delay turned into a postponement.
For the first time in six years, there will only be one amateur baseball team in Mitchell. The GF Advertising Giants disbanded after last season, making the Mad Dogs the lone Mitchell amateur team in town and losing out on a rivalry that has slowly grown since the Mad Dogs expanded in 2003. "Anytime you lose a team in amateur baseball, it's sad to see it happen," Mad Dogs player Jason Skinner said.
It took a couple of innings, but, just like always, Mitchell's offense did its thing. Mitchell head coach Luke Norden gave his team Monday off after a West River doubleheader sweep of Sturgis Sunday, which maybe was the reasoning for the slow start the Kernels had. But a seven-run third inning and a few insurance runs in the fifth and sixth gave Mitchell a 12-7 win over Sioux Falls Washington Tuesday at Cadwell Park. For the first two innings, Mitchell's offense didn't look like itself, recording only two hits and zero runs.