Hits were hard to come by for the Plankinton Bankers on Thursday night.
But Plankinton's struggles at the plate weren't the team's only issues as Larchwood (Iowa) took advantage of five Banker errors and advanced to the second round with a 6-2 win at the Class B South Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament at Cadwell Park.
The Diamonds, who have qualified for the state tournament every year since 2004, were led by starting pitcher Ryan Brasser.
"It seemed when we did get contact on the ball, we had a ton of ground balls right at their guys," Plankinton manager Ryan Pryor said. "We finally started hitting some balls hard, but it was too little too late at that point."
Brasser kept the Bankers off-balance all night until the ninth inning when pick-up player Zach Zimprich, of Chamberlain, hit a two-RBI single for Plankinton's lone runs. The 6-foot-7 lefthander scattered 10 hits and recorded seven strikeouts with one walk in nine innings pitched.
"It was a lot of off-speed (pitches). Off-speed at any count," Brasser said. "I trusted our hitters to get runs and I trusted the defense. Any time you have a lead it's nice and it's even nicer when you have some breathing room."
Micah Linn broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning with a two-run home run over the left-field fence to give the Diamonds a 2-0 lead.
Travis Gant took the loss for Plankinton, allowing five runs (four earned), on nine hits with four strikeouts and one walk in seven innings pitched. Josh Engquist tossed the final two innings, allowing one earned run and had one strikeout.
"Errors are runs and that's a direct correlation. Five errors and five runs and that's not (typically) our guys," Pryor said about his team's miscues. "Sometimes things don't go your way and that's baseball."
In the top of the seventh inning, Larchwood added to its lead with three runs. Travis Feekes was hit by a pitch to start the inning and advanced to second base on a missed pick-off throw. He later scored on an RBI single by Koury Kramer. Kramer scored on an RBI single by Mitch Peschon and Keaton Grevengoed, who reached on an error, scored on another Plankinton error in left field to make it 5-0.
Larchwood tacked on another run in the top of the ninth inning when Grevengoed smacked a line-drive home run that cleared the Cadwell fence just over the 340-foot marker in left.
For Plankinton, Tyler Waddle went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Josh Geppert, Gant and Zimprich each added two hits.
Kramer led the Diamonds with three hits, while Grevengoed and Peschon each had two hits.
Larchwood (17-7) will face Freeman in the second round at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. Plankinton's season ends at 20-8.
L 000 020 301 - 6 11 0
P 000 000 002 - 2 10 5
WP: Ryan Brasser. LP: Travis Gant. Pitchers: Plankinton: Gant and Josh Engquist (8); Larchwood: Brasser. Home runs: L: Micah Linn and Keaton Grevengoed.