OMAHA, Neb.-Mitchell Post 18 did not need a full seven innings to dispatch Bellevue West (Nebraska) in its opening game on Friday at the Omaha Westside Turf Classic.
Post 18 put away Bellevue West, 8-0, in five innings-invoking the tournament's eight-run mercy rule-behind an efficient performance by pitcher Brady Hawkins.
Hawkins needed only 64 pitches to put away Bellevue West, as he tossed five shutout innings, allowing three hits and one walk. He also struck out five, with a curveball being his preferred weapon of choice.
"He just did a really good job of getting the ball in play and not trying to do too much," Mitchell head coach Luke Norden said. "I would say four out of the five strikeouts were on curveballs. He did a really good job of not overusing his curveball and using it to get outs when he needed to. They didn't really have any scoring threats or opportunities on him."
Only one baserunner reached second base on Hawkins, while Calvin Hegg snuffed out another opportunity on a fielder's choice, faking a throw to first to get an out in the fourth.
Offensively, Mitchell was patient throughout the game, needing five hits for its eight runs. Ryan McGinnis drove in a run on a ground out, while Hegg added an RBI single as part of a three-run second inning.
Hegg drove in two runs in the game, but Post 18 also took advantage of five walks and four hit batters.
"We scored some runs on wild pitches, but we did what we needed to score eight runs," Norden said. "We could have had more hits, but we weren't trying to do too much."
Mitchell returns to action today with a pair of games against Nebraska squads, first against in a noon contest against Millard South and then at 2:30 p.m. against Grand Island.
Post 18 beat Millard South last year, but they are also coming off a trip to the Nebraska Class A prep finals. Norden anticipates needing another strong pitching performance and more offensive output to secure a win.
"(Millard South is really good) and the Grand Island team we've played the last two years and they've been really good offensively," Norden said. "Both of the games, we're going to need to throw strikes and bring our sticks to score more runs than they do. Both of those teams are going to swing the bats well."