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Dimock-Emery starts on right foot in win over Harrisburg

After a 15-14 season and a couple of early exits in previous state tournaments, Dimock-Emery was ready for the state tournament to begin. They didn't miss their chance Wednesday night. The Raptors took advantage of four runs in the first two inni...

Dimock-Emery's Phil Johnson (16) fires a pitch during a game against Harrisburg in the first round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament on Wednesday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)
Dimock-Emery's Phil Johnson (16) fires a pitch during a game against Harrisburg in the first round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament on Wednesday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)

After a 15-14 season and a couple of early exits in previous state tournaments, Dimock-Emery was ready for the state tournament to begin.

They didn't miss their chance Wednesday night.

The Raptors took advantage of four runs in the first two innings without a hit and put away Harrisburg for a 7-2 first-round win Wednesday at Cadwell Park in the Class B South Dakota Amateur Baseball Tournament.

"Hopefully we got the monkey off of our back," said Dimock-Emery pitcher Phil Johnson, who pitched a complete game for the Raptors. "We played great defense and we hit the ball well. They gave us a few. They're a good ball team but they gave us a few. We were able to stay on top of them."

The Woodies closed the game with seven errors, six wild pitches and two passed balls, including a couple that allowed runs to score. The Raptors took advantage.

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"When we clinched to get in, we just talked about having a clean mind and not worrying about scouting reports or anything else," Raptors manager Brad Bartscher said. "We just want to come in and execute and do what we do best and not worry about anyone else. I think we've been thinking a little too much and we came out and they gave us some runs and things went our way."

Dimock-Emery (16-14) got on the board in the first frame when Phil Johnson's ground ball to third base was mishandled with one out, canceling out a chance at the double play and allowing Gene Kitchens to score from third base.

In the second inning, it was more miscues from the Woodies that allowed D-E to tack on three runs. Doug Sudbeck reached on an error to start the inning and then later scored on a passed ball. Courtesy runner Tyson Kayser scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0, finishing what Jeremy Zens started by reaching on an error. Gene Kitchens later scored on a wild pitch to put the Raptors up 4-0.

"We started off and we had some young guys where this was their first time here and we had some jitters," said Harrisburg player/coach Brian Stoebner. "We had one guy make a mistake and it just seemed to carry over and continue. I think that's what sort of got us because once we got past that, we were fine."

In the fourth inning, Jason Schmidt and Johnson each doubled, with Johnson knocking in Schmidt for a 5-0 lead.

Harrisburg (12-6) had hits in each of the first five innings but it wasn't until the sixth, when pick-up player Collin Peterson, added from Garretson, banged a two-run home run down the line in left field for the tournament's first round-tripper.

In the eighth inning, Schmidt picked up an RBI single to score Kitchens and then Schmidt then scored on another wild pitch to set the final margin at 7-2.

Johnson was mostly in control, throwing 117 pitches for 84 strikes, allowing 10 hits but striking out 11. The lead gave some confidence to Johnson and the rest of the Raptors.

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"It doesn't necessarily make things any easier but you have a little confidence and you're in front," Johnson said. "My catcher (Jeremy Zens) usually calls a great game and he had a plan and we worked it well."

LaBrie, a former relief pitcher at Wichita State, had the stuff to strikeout the Raptors 15 times but he struggled to the connection with his catcher, throwing six wild pitches in the contest. He pitched eight innings, throwing 150 pitches, allowing five hits, seven runs (one earned).

"Aaron is amazing," Stoebner said. "Tonight was the first night that he's allowed an earned run all year. He battles his butt off and you can't say enough about what he's done for us."

But it's the Raptors who advance and leave their unkind trips to Cadwell during the last two Augusts behind. D-E lost to Larchwood in 12 innings in the first round in 2014 and then were upset last year by Plankinton in the opening round.

On Sunday, Dimock-Emery will play at 5:30 p.m. to take on the Dell Rapids Mudcats.

"We're getting some things going and hopefully, we can build off of that and keep the ball rolling," Bartscher said.

NOTES: The game was preceded by the tournament's opening ceremony, featuring the presentation of the colors from American Legion Post 18 and a large American flag on display in front of the pitcher's mound by the Mitchell Exchange Club.

Dimock-Emery 130 100 020-7 6 1

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Harrisburg 000 002 000-2 10 7

WP: Phil Johnson. LP: Aaron LaBrie.

Dimock-Emery: Phil Johnson and Jeremy Zens. Harrisburg: Aaron LaBrie, Dalton Allen (9) and Drew Andela. 2B: D-E: Johnson, Josh Enquist and Jason Schmidt; H: Nick Ramstad, Collin Peterson. HR: H: Collin Peterson (6th, 1 on, 1 out).

Related Topics: CADWELL PARKEMERY
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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