Kernels pick up first loss of season

Despite giving up a seven-run inning, leaving 14 runners on base and recording five defensive errors, the Mitchell baseball team still had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.

Despite giving up a seven-run inning, leaving 14 runners on base and recording five defensive errors, the Mitchell baseball team still had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.

The Kernels' undefeated season was lost Monday on a chilly, windy day at Cadwell Park with a 12-10 defeat to Sioux Falls O'Gorman.

Down by two with two runners on, No. 9 hitter Steve Jackson hit a rope to right field that was caught to end the game.

The loss was Mitchell's first of the year, but midway through the game it looked as if it would be a lot worse than two runs.

The game was tied at one after three innings, and Mitchell had two huge chances early to jump on top of the Knights.


In the first inning, Mitchell had the bases loaded with one out, but Ryan Buck struck out and Jamie Huber hit a soft grounder to end the inning. In the third, Buck and Huber ended the inning again with back-to-back outs after the bases were juiced.

"You look at that early in the game where we didn't score with the bases loaded and that cost us at the end of the game," Mitchell head coach Luke Norden said.

Mitchell starting pitcher Jordan Piper threw a 1-2-3 third inning, but the fourth was when O'Gorman started its first of consecutive big innings.

Piper, who was tagged with the loss, worked four innings, giving up five hits with four strikeouts and five runs.

The Knights scored four runs in the fourth. Piper walked the No. 8 hitter, allowed a base hit to the No. 9 hitter and the top two hitters each had hits up the middle in the next two at-bats.

In the bottom half of the inning, center fielder Cade Hearnen, right fielder Sean DeVries and third baseman Brett Young all scored with two outs. Catcher Kendall Patrick had a two-RBI single, and Piper followed with an RBI single to left.

O'Gorman batted 11 men in the fifth. Hearnen relieved Piper, and he allowed seven runs and seven hits in his first inning of work.

After the fifth, Hearnen pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings.


"Baseball sometimes is a game of big innings and we've had that a couple times this year," O'Gorman head coach John Ratzloff said. "You saw that a couple times today. That seven-run inning was huge for us."

Added Norden: "They just kept hitting the ball so well and they ran the bases really well. They just kept building and building, but we have to do a better job of damage control."

Mitchell, which trailed by eight entering the bottom of the fifth, worked the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning. Huber led off with a groundout to the pitcher, but then Mitchell batted through its order to score five. Shortstop Nick Young worked a walk, Jackson hit a shot up the middle and Hearnen, who hit in the leadoff spot, got on by an O'Gorman error to load the bases. DeVries and Young had consecutive hits to score runs.

Young finished the game 2-for-3 and got on base every time he was at the plate. He had an RBI single in the first and a two-RBI triple in the fifth to score DeVries and Hearnen. Young was also the only Kernel hitter to have more than one hit.

With the score at 12-9, the Kernels scratched across one more run in the sixth. Young worked a bases-loaded walk -- his fourth RBI of the game -- but then Patrick grounded out to end the inning and leave the bases loaded for the third time of the game.

"The left on base isn't a big deal, as long as those guys are left on after you've scored a few runs," Norden said. "It becomes a factor when guys work their tails off in an inning, but you don't score during the entire inning."

The Kernels are now 4-1 on the season and will play their first road game Thursday at Yankton. They return home at 6 p.m. Friday to play Sioux Falls Lincoln.

Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at
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