One bad inning didn’t sink the Mount Vernon Mustangs Friday afternoon.
Instead, the Mustangs answered a rough five-run fourth inning for Redfield with five of their own in the seventh and two more in the eighth to rally for a 9-7 victory over the Pheasants for a first-round win at the South Dakota Class B State Amateur Baseball Tournament at Cadwell Park.
The victory sends the Mustangs (17-9) ahead to Monday’s second round to face Irene at 7:30 p.m. Redfield’s season ends at 11-14.
The latest turn in the game was the biggest for Mount Vernon in the seventh inning. A double from Seth Cavanaugh and a single from Tate Deinert started matters for the Mustangs, followed by a run-scoring fielder’s choice from Matt Larson. Then four straight hits - a Chase Hetland double and singles from Zac Custer, Jed Schmidt and a pinch-hit effort from Adam Fink - moved the Mustangs into the lead 7-6.
“The fight in these guys is amazing,” said Mount Vernon manager/pitcher Deric Denning. “We’ve lost a lot of games in our league (by scores of) 1-0, 2-1, to some really good teams like Parkston and Alexandria and it would have been real easy for our team down 5-2 to kind of lay down. We didn’t do that. … One-through-nine, we had guys step up when we needed it and then we were just able to battle through it and find a way to win.”
Schmidt, one of four Post 18 Legion pick-up players on Mount Vernon, was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and four stolen bases. The Mustangs stole 10 bases as a team, with three from fellow Post 18 product Briggs Havlik as a courtesy runner. A double steal with Schmidt on first and Havlik on third tied the game at 6-6 in the seventh.
“Even when we were making outs, we were hitting the ball hard,” said Schmidt, who will play collegiately at Augustana University. “So we just kept doing it and ball started to fall. Near the end of the Legion season, I was hitting a lot of balls on the barrel, so it was nice to keep that going today.”
Mount Vernon’s regular contributors came up big, as well. Hetland had three hits and drove in two, while Cavanaugh and Larson -- former Post 18 players themselves -- each had two hits of the Mustangs’ 15 hits. A first-inning RBI single from Hetland and a squeeze bunt from Brian Vermeulen staked MV to a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth before Redfield answered.
The Pheasants started their big inning with a walk, a Sutton Masat double and an intentional walk to load the bases. A grounder to third base by Christian Christianson was thrown away in an attempt to force out the runner, and back-to-back singles from Levi Logan and Jesse Babcock gave Redfield a 4-2 lead, which would be widened in the next at-bat with a Kaleb Rogers sacrifice fly and a Christianson RBI single in the fifth to make the game 6-2.
Denning finished the win with a complete-game effort, throwing 157 pitches and allowing seven hits, seven runs (six earned) and striking out 11.
“I dislocated my kneecap in the districts and I took my brace off in about the sixth inning and was just able to power through it and battle out there,” Denning said of his time on the mound. “You’re not always going to have your best stuff but I was just battling through it and finding a way to win.”
For Redfield, Justin Link took the loss, allowing six earned runs on 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings with five punchouts. Christianson threw the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and two runs. Babcock and Christianson each drove in two runs, while Logan and Masat had two hits each.
MV 100 100 520 - 9 15 1
R 000 510 010 - 7 7 2
WP: Deric Denning. LP: Justin Link. Pitchers: MV: Denning. Redfield: Link and Christian Christianson (7). Doubles: MV: Chase Hetland, Seth Cavanaugh. Redfield: Sutton Masat.