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KIMBALL -- The 10-foot putt was lined up on a soft path of smooth sand. Harold Bickner, who has golfed for more than 40 years at Lake 16 Golf Course, rocked his club back, tapped the ball and watched as it created a noticeable trail on its way to the cup. The ball stopped dead in the sand, 8 inches from Bickner's anticipated destination. On Lake 16's sand greens, that's close enough for a birdie. "It's a gimme if it's within a club's length," Bickner said. "But now the rest of the course isn't going to go as well.
One bad play in one big inning kept Mitchell Post 18 from a doubleheader sweep against Pierre Thursday. Post 8 scored eight runs in the top of the third inning in Game 2, which was sparked by a first-and-third situation where Mitchell threw the ball all around the diamond. The play tied the game at 2, eventually helping Post 8 win the nightcap 9-7 after Mitchell handily won the first game 10-2. Cade Hearnen started the second game for Mitchell, and after working through the first two innings unharmed, he walked the No. 9 hitter -- a cardinal sin in baseball. The No.
One early, powerful swing of the bat from Huron didn't get Mitchell down. Instead, the three-run homer from Mike DeLauries helped Post 18's offense fire up. After stranding 12 runners in an 11-7 loss to Brookings Monday night, Mitchell scored in all but the first inning in a 17-6 rout of Huron that lasted only 6½ innings Tuesday at Cadwell Park. Steve Jackson started for Mitchell. In the first inning, he gave up singles to the No. 2 and 3 hitters. Then DeLauries stepped to the plate.
Now that I have my first year of South Dakota high school sports under my belt with a good understanding of the area's sports, I want to take the left side of today's sports section to recognize one school that stood out in 2008-'09. Sure, almost every area school has some type of sports moment I could mention, but this school deserves an extra bit of credit. The first time I made the trip to Wagner High School, it was during early season football practice and I strolled up to a group of hard-working kids getting ready for the upcoming season.
Fresh off a spring state championship and rolling into the Legion season with a 9-3 record, the Mitchell Post 18 team is at a midseason crossroads. Since the hot start, head coach Luke Norden's team is 4-6 in its last 10 games, including a couple very disappointing losses. A fresh start is what the team could use, and starting today, Mitchell will be at the Fargo-Moorhead tournament -- possibly the perfect place to jumpstart the season.
After hosting South Dakota's first-ever Hunting Retrievers Club Grand National at the end of May, Granite Springs in Alexandria can now call itself the first-ever HRC national official training site. The HRC has around 10,000 active members, and now, any one of those members -- whether it is a local member or someone from out of state who's on vacation -- can train their dog at Granite Springs to prepare for the next grand, which is also known as the Super Bowl for dogs.
After two lazy fly outs in the top of the seventh, the Mitchell Post 18 baseball team was one out away from sweeping Aberdeen Monday night. Instead, the Smitty's scored seven runs with two outs, spoiling what could have been a sweet night for Post 18. "Guys were thinking about way too much instead of just going out and playing baseball," Mitchell head coach Luke Norden said. "The hardest thing to swallow is you could have taken a couple steps forward as a team ... and getting a couple big wins.
The countless hours of hard work paid off. At least that's what Matt Everson says. The Mitchell native, who is wrestling for one of the biggest Division I collegiate wrestling powerhouses in the nation, returned to the mat last November after a year-and-a-half stint in Iraq. This fall, the Gopher returns to the mat again in his senior year on the team.
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.