RENNER -- Mitchell Post 18 never found a clutch hit.
Thirteenth-seeded Mitchell struggled to solve No. 4 Renner pitcher Reece Arbogast on Friday, but when it did, it could not deliver a hit to score runs. Post 18 recorded five hits (and no walks) and stranded four of those batters, falling 8-1 in Game 1 of the best-of-three series in the Class A American Legion playoffs.
Mitchell needs heading into Saturday’s 11 a.m. elimination game (a third game would follow should Mitchell win) in Renner. Post 18 will need that confidence because head coach Luke Norden felt it was missing in Game 1.
“We kind of played scared tonight -- like we had something to lose,” Norden said. “We’ve got absolutely nothing to lose whatsoever and we’ve got to play forward. We’ve got to catch balls and expect to make great plays and we just didn’t do that tonight. We played like we were the top seed and had everything to lose."
Renner out-hit Mitchell (16-25) 7-5, but it was more efficient with runners on base, particularly by scoring four runs with two outs in the fifth to break the game open. Mitchell, meanwhile, had runners on the corners with no outs in the top of the frame and managed one run.
Arbogast tossed a complete game without allowing an earned run and struck out nine for the Royals, while Mitchell’s Landon Waddell surrendered three earned runs on six hits and three walks and fanned five in 4 2/3 innings.
“We stole some bases, but we didn’t get guys on to put any pressure on (Arbogast) in a couple situations,” Norden said. “That was kind of the name of the game offensively. We just didn’t mount enough chances offensively.”.
Ryan McGinnis went 2-for-3 in defeat for Post 18.
Harry Hueners went 2-for-2 with four RBIs for Renner (25-10), while Teegan Schlimgen and Sam Stukel drove in two runs apiece.