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Alexandria comes back late to stave off Platte, advance to quarterfinals of amateur state tourney

The Alexandria Angels scored three runs in the final to innings to cap off a come-from-behind win over the Platte Killer Tomatoes and advance in the South Dakota Class B amateur state tournament.

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Alexandria Angels' Pierce Smith waits for a pitch during a South Dakota Class B amateur state tournament second-round game against the Platte Killer Tomatoes on Monday, August 8, 2022 at Cadwell Park.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — The Alexandria Angels powered back late Monday night to stave off elimination and top the Platte Killer Tomatoes 4-3 at Cadwell Park in the second round of the South Dakota Class B amateur state tournament.

After starting the game retiring the first nine batters, Alexandria starter Tyson Gau ran into a jam in the bottom of the fourth inning and loaded the bases with only one out. Gau made a bare-handed play on a comebacker to cut down a runner at home for the second before retiring the side on a bouncer to first.

Gau then came to the plate in the top of fifth and lined a soft single to center field with two outs and came around to score when Jordan Gau brought him home on a long double that one hopped the wall just to the left of the 420-foot sign in center field to take a 1-0 lead.

After Derek Soukup got aboard on a leadoff infield single in the bottom of the fifth for Platte, he advanced to second on an error and found his way to third on a sacrifice fly before scoring on another error from the Alexandria infield. The Killer Tomatoes plated another run in the inning on a Hunter Hewitt sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead.

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Alexandria Angels' center fielder Jerrod Zens tracks down a fly ball during a South Dakota Class B amateur state tournament second-round game against the Platte Killer Tomatoes on Monday, August 8, 2022 at Cadwell Park.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Platte started Owen London was able to keep the Angels off balance while he was on the hill, limiting hard contact despite scattering seven hits. He left the game only having allowed one run through six innings.

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In the bottom of the seventh, Platte’s Richard Sternberg reached base after a dropped pop up in the infield and came around the score on an RBI triple from Grant Doom to put the Killer Tomatoes up 3-1, accounting for the third unearned run given up by Tyson Gau.

“I know that they're not trying to make mistakes behind me, so I'll give them another opportunity,” Tyson Gau said of the defense after the win. “I'm not gonna get mad, I did get a little fired up just trying to get the team into the game.”

The very next inning Pierce Smith launched a 3-1 offering to left field for a two-run homer to left to knot things up at three.

“I’m looking for a certain pitch in a certain spot,” he said of his mindset before the homer.

Tyson Gau then reached in the top of the ninth on a leadoff walk before Jordan Gau brought him home once again on a double to left-center field, one of his three hits, to give Alexandria a 4-3 advantage. The Angels loaded the bases but couldn’t tack on any insurance runs, as Doom struck out the next three batters.

Former Mitchell Kernel and Augustana Viking Jed Schmidt, who came in during the eighth inning in relief of Tyson Gau, slammed the door in the ninth to send Alexandria to the quarterfinals.

While both teams committed three errors, the Angels outhit the Killer Tomatoes 11-6 in the win. Jordan and Tyson Gau combined to go 5-for-8 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a pair of walks, while Sternberg led the way for Platte with two hits.

“They’ve been a staple in Alex’s lineup … since we’ve started up again,” Smith said of the Gau duo. “They get the job done for us.”

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Platte’s season comes to a close in the second round after giving up a late lead with a record of 14-7, while Alexandria will take on the winner of the game between Canova and Lennox Only One, which got underway right after.

“It gives us a lot of momentum,” Smith said of the come-from-behind win. "It makes us realize that we’re very beatable. We gotta come out and get some early runs, and we’re obviously gonna face a good team next.”

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Mitchell baseball leaders say the $400,000 press box and extended roof structure will provide shade for about half of the seats in Cadwell Park.

Zech Lambert is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He graduated from Penn State University in May 2022 and began at the Mitchell Republic in July 2022. He can be reached at zlambert@mitchellrepublic.com or on Twitter @Zech_Lambert.
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