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McCook/Miner stays alive at Class B state Legion

Tabor's Tanner VanDriel tries to lay a tag on Keegan Miller, of Dell Rapids, during the fifth inning of a Class B Legion baseball state tournament game on Saturday. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

REDFIELD—Using some big offense, McCook/Miner Post 140 advanced to the semifinals of the Class B Legion baseball state tournament by winning both of its games over the weekend.

The weekend started with a 17-7 six-inning win over Groton on Saturday, followed by McCook/Miner (23-2) taking down Big Stone City 14-1 in five innings. McCook/Miner will take on Spearfish today in another elimination game.

"(Only playing 11 innings is) real big to keep our pitching intact," McCook/Miner head coach Mike Gassman said. "As you move on, it's a big plus to keep your innings down."

McCook/Miner's offense couldn't be quieted on Saturday as it racked up 12 hits and scored in five of six innings, including a four-run fourth and five-run sixth.

"That's the way we play. We like to get out right away and get things going," coach Gassman said. "It helps everything. It's just a different game."

McCook/Miner's big fourth inning was highlighted by Kendall Gassman's two-RBI double and Cade Schmitt's two-RBI single and Blake Klinkhammer's RBI single. Cole Gassman led McCook/Miner with three hits, including a double, while Peyton Cleveland's sixth-inning double drove in two runs. Klinkhammer and Schmitt both had two hits and three RBIs, and Kalub Carmichael had two hits.

Dylan Klinkhammer earned the win as he allowed two runs (one earned) in the final two innings. Trent Kingsbury struck out five in 2 2/3-shutout innings in his start.

On Sunday, M/M plated runs in all five innings to along with 12 hits. Sam Arend led McCook/Miner at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a first-inning home run and five RBIs. Kendall Gassman and Cade Schmitt both had two hits, including a double for each, while Kendall Gassman drove in three runs. Kyle Tuschen went 1-for-1 with a pair of RBIs, as well.

On the mound, Kendall Gassman was helped by a defense that only committed one error as he struck out two and allowed an unearned run in 3 1/3 innings to earn the win. Arend struck out three and didn't allow a baserunner in the final 1 2/3 innings.

Bluebirds bounced with two losses

REDFIELD—Tabor Post 183 was eliminated from the Class B Legion baseball state tournament over the weekend after dropping a pair of games. On Saturday, Dell Rapids beat Tabor 12-1 in five innings. Tabor suffered its second loss of the double-elimination tournament on Sunday to Dakota Valley, 8-2.

Tabor was outhit 9-2 on Saturday and gave up two home runs, including a grand slam to cap a five-run third inning for Dell Rapids. Joey Slama hit an RBI double in the fourth for Tabor's only run of the game, but Dell Rapids answered with seven runs in the fifth.

"Our pitching staff for the most part did fine, but there were just a few plays that we left on the field and it just snowballed into big innings for the opponents," Tabor head coach Gary Kortan said.

Mace Merkwan took the loss as he allowed eight runs (five earned), six hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings. He also struck out eight batters. Beau Rothschadl and Colin Adams conceded four runs (three unearned) in the final 2/3 innings.

At the plate, Tanner VanDriel and Slama both hit a double for Tabor's only hits of the game.

Tabor's bats stayed quiet on Sunday as it was held to three hits, while Dakota Valley racked up 16 hits and scored three runs in the first two innings.

Tabor had a chance to comeback in the third when Christian Uecker walked with the bases loaded to drive in Tabor's first run of the game. However, Tyler Kopp struck out to end the inning.

"We had the momentum in our favor," Kortan said. "We just couldn't get the key hits when we needed it there."

Dakota Valley proceeded to score four runs in the sixth to blow the game open. Uecker scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth for Tabor's final run.

VanDriel threw 100 pitches in his 5 1/3-inning start. He allowed seven earned runs, 15 hits and three walks. Zach Cuka and Schmidt combined to give up an unearned run in 1 2/3 innings.

"We basically just ran out of arms against quality opponents," said Kortan, who added losing starting pitcher Christian Uecker before the state tournament hurt the team. "All the teams we played are still going to be playing (today). We never caught a break."

VanDriel and Schmidt, who hit a double, accounted for Tabor's other two hits. Tabor finishes the season 20-6.

"I told the kids after the game that we had a nice run starting with (winning) high school ball, and we had a really good Legion season," Kortan said.