GILLETTE, Wyo. -- Behind a solid outing from Brady Hawkins, Mitchell Post 18 went 1-1 during the first day of the Hladky Memorial Tournament on Friday.
Against Rocky Mountain (Colo.), Hawkins struck out nine batters, gave up five hits and two unearned runs through 6 2/3 innings in a 4-2 victory. In Game 2, Mitchell Post 18 lost to Rapid City Post 320, 5-2.
In Game 1, Hawkins also issued just two walks through 109 pitches.
“He worked the ball up in the strike zone and got some strikeouts on fastballs up in the zone,” Post 18 coach Luke Norden said. “He just did a really good job of pitching and kind of playing off of what he saw earlier in the game on swings from hitters and kind of working toward his strengths and their weaknesses. So it was good to see.”
Hawkins received just enough run support to earn the victory. Mitchell (9-8) scored its second and third runs on squeeze plays. Peyton Nash recorded all three hits for Mitchell in Game 1.
“We did a really good job of executing the squeeze to add onto our lead and obviously it was needed at the end,” Norden said. “It always good to continue to add on runs no matter what the score or what the inning is.”
In Game 2, Rapid City scored four runs on five hits in the fifth inning to stake a 5-1 advantage. Mitchell’s Jake Helleloid took the loss, but Norden said he pitched well enough to win. He allowed nine hits, five runs (four earned) and struck out four batters in five innings.
“Jake threw really well,” Norden said. “He was around the strike zone a majority of the day. He didn’t have problems in the zone or anything. I think he pitched well enough to win, just giving up runs in only two innings. We just didn’t give ourselves enough chances at the plate.”
Jonah Schmidt and Parker Bollinger finished with three hits apiece. Hawkins’ two-run single accounted for Mitchell’s only two runs of the game. Koby Larson finished with one hit.
Mitchell plays Premier West (Colo.) today, while its second opponent is to be determined. Premier West lost to Post 320, 10-7, in 12 innings on Thursday.
“Over the years they’ve been a pretty good team out of Colorado,” Norden said. “We’ve never played them. I would say they are pretty comparable to the two teams we saw (Friday).”