‘Crunch time’: Post 18 preps for final stretch of the season
Mitchell Post 18 is gearing up for the final month of the Legion baseball season.
It's coming down to crunch time for Mitchell Post 18.
The last month of the regular season is here for Mitchell, which enters July with an 18-14 mark. Post 18 continues an eight-game road swing on Wednesday at Sioux Falls East in a 2 p.m. doubleheader.
Mitchell will also play West Central, Huron, Renner, Lennox and Pierre as the season draws to a close. The final month of the season also features the Gopher Classic on July 12-16 in Minnesota.
"Our games are coming down to crunch time here," Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. "So we basically have to take every game and treat it like a playoff-type atmosphere."
Post 18 is coming off a 2-3 record at the Hladky Tournament in Gillette, Wyoming, this past weekend. Mitchell lost its final game against Sheridan, Wyoming. Post 18 was leading 5-2, but gave up the final seven runs through the last two innings.
Norden said the inability to close games has plagued Post 18 in recent weeks.
"We just have to pick up our effort a little bit to go out and try to finish games and add on leads and not be satisfied with where we are at right now," Norden said.
Norden said finishing games wasn't an issue earlier in the season, but noted how "our last 30 innings played, we've only scored in six of those 30 innings."
"We've given ourselves opportunities," Norden said. "But we just haven't been able to capitalize and finish off some runs in some innings. We have to do a better job of trying to score in more innings."
But there's been plenty of positives. Brady Hawkins had a solid outing in Post 18's 4-1 win over Rapid City Post 320 in Gillette. He struck out 11 batters, scattered four hits and gave up just one earned run in seven innings.
“He’s been really competitive for us on the mound,” Norden said. “He’s been able to go out and get us wins when we need wins and to throw well every time he goes out is a plus for us.”
Hawkins is 4-0 on the season and has struck out 37 batters in 28.1 innings. Jackson Sadler has logged the most innings pitched (36) and struck out 17 batters, while posting a 3-2 record.
Peyton Nash leads the team in batting average (.407) and has knocked in 19 runs. Hawkins is hitting .383, has a team-high 34 RBIs and two home runs. Carson Max is hitting .382 and has belted a team-high five home runs.