BROOKINGS -- Two tight games, two walk-off victories for the Brookings High School baseball team over Mitchell on Sunday.
The Bobcats scored the decisive run in a tied game in the opener of a doubleheader, winning 5-4, and then rallied from three runs down in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 to win 7-6 at the newly renovated Bob Shelden Field.
In the opening game, Mitchell had a 3-0 lead, built on single runs in each of the first three innings. But a four-run third inning for the Bobcats put Brookings back in front.
Jonah Schmidt had a two-hit game with two runs scored, while Joe Van Overschelde and Dylan Soulek each had two hits. Jake Helleloid threw five innings, allowing four hits and four runs. Jace Larson pitched well in relief but took the loss for the Kernels.
“We outhit them in both games,” Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. “You look at the first game, I think they scored four runs in the one inning with one or two hits. In those situations, we need to not shoot ourselves in the foot with a walk or a hit by a pitch. We need to make sure we’re making them string three or four hits in a row to score those runs.”
The second game was particularly painful for the Kernels. Mitchell did not have a hit until the fifth inning, but broke through with three runs each in the fifth and sixth innings, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 6-3 lead. In the seventh inning, Brookings (17-5) scored four runs, capped by a three-run game-winning double by Lincoln Hardin to right-center field to win the game.
Jonah Schmidt started Game 2 for Mitchell and allowed two earned runs in three innings, while striking out four. Jackson Ebert threw three strong innings of relief, keeping the Bobcats off the board until the bottom of the seventh innings, when Brookings made their comeback. Ebert, Dylan Soulek and Seth Muth pitched in the seventh, with Soulek taking the loss and Muth allowing the Hardin game-winning double. Ashton Witte was the winning pitcher for the Bobcats in relief of starter Josh Devine.
Parker Bollinger had two RBIs, while Jake Helleloid, Joe Van Overschelde, Nick Lord and Jace Larson all drove in runs. Helleloid and Soulek each had triples in the game.
“Close games like this, whether you win or lose, they have to be character builders,” Norden said. “Your performance stems off your confidence. … I think that’s what hurt us that most today, just a lack of confidence at certain points of really both games, not just the clutch parts of the games.”
Mitchell (10-6) hosts Sioux Falls Lincoln in a doubleheader at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Cadwell Park.