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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.
At eight years old, Tyler Osterloo was dragged from the back seat of the car kicking and screaming to his first tennis lesson. His older sister Laura laughs about the memory today. Last weekend, she and the University of Sioux Falls tennis team took a disappointing second place at the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament after being favored going in. Nonetheless, she capped off a huge sophomore season where she went 8-2 in singles matches, helped her team win the regular season conference title and was named the GPAC player of the week in the final days of the regular season.
Jumping is in Tia Haines' blood as much as it is in her legs. The University of South Dakota junior and White Lake native is having a strong track season, and she said it's partly thanks to her older brother, who is now her coach. But Tia and Colte Haines are not the only tracksters in the family. Tia has four older brothers, three of which won the Class B state title in the long or triple jump during their prep years.