Mitchell Post 18 ended the weekend on a high note.
Thanks to an offensive outburst, Mitchell bounced back from a 12-9 loss to Sioux Falls East on Saturday to sweep a Sunday doubleheader against Sturgis at Cadwell Park. Post 18 recorded 30 hits between the two games, taking down Sturgis 17-7 in six innings in Game 1 and 10-7 in the second game.
“We did a really good job hitting the ball in all of our games,” Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. “... Offensively, I’m really happy with our approach and line drives all over the place. Doing a good job on the bases.”
Post 18 (4-3) started strong against Sturgis starter Carl Nash, who suffered the loss, by scoring seven runs in the first inning. It drew five walks in the big inning, while Brady Hawkins singled in a run and Calvin Hegg cleared the bases with a three-RBI double to cap the inning.
Hawkins picked up two more RBIs as part of a six-run third inning, which gave Mitchell a 13-3 lead. Koby Larson also had an RBI single, while Peyton Nash, who went 3-for-3, doubled in a pair of runners.
“You get the metal bat and a little bit of confidence, and it’s just contagious,” Norden said, of Mitchell’s hitting. “I’m really happy with pitch recognition and not being behind fastballs and doing a good job fighting off curveballs.”
Post 18 added four more runs before the end of the game, including Brady Brosz and Hegg both driving in three runs.
Hegg also picked up the win in his four-inning start. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on four hits and struck out a pair, though did struggle with command as he issued six walks. Sturgis only had one hit in the final two innings.
Sturgis was able to jump out to a quick start in the second game, though. It had five hits and two walks against Nash in a five-run first inning. Post 33 tacked on another two runs in the second to extend its lead to 7-1, but Nash found a rhythm on the mound.
He didn’t give up anymore hits or runs in the next four innings, ending his six-inning start with six strikeouts and a win.
“Peyton did an unbelievable job continuing to throw strikes,” Norden said. “Those late-to-middle innings got a lot of easy fly balls.”
Meanwhile, Post 18 chipped away at the lead as Sturgis used three different pitchers. It chased Gage Murphey out of the game in the fifth inning as he eventually suffered the loss. He allowed nine runs (six earned) in 4 1/3 innings.
A five-run fifth inning gave Mitchell a 9-7 lead. The inning was highlighted by back-to-back RBI singles from Koby Larson and Hegg, while Max Schoenfelder also drove in a run. Hegg finished 4-for-5 with two RBIs, while Larson added three hits. Carson Max, Hawkins and Isaac Rew all added two hits, too.
Despite a nine-run fifth inning, Mitchell couldn’t overcome its struggling defense on Saturday. It committed six errors, allowing Sioux Falls to take a 10-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. Dimitri Haan earned the win, allowing six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
“We’ve struggled almost every game defensively,” Norden said. “We’re trying to rush too much. A lot of the plays we’ve made errors on are plays that haven’t been hit hard enough to turn two. We have to commit to getting one out in those situations and not rush things.”
In fact, only six of Sioux Falls’ 12 runs were earned, with Jared Miller taking the loss. He allowed 10 runs (six earned) on eight hits and four walks in a five-inning start.
Post 18’s big inning featured four of its eight hits, with the first eight batters reaching base. Larson finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Rew went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Mitchell plays a 5 p.m. doubleheader on Tuesday at Pierre.