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Garretson holds off Mount Vernon for amateur tournament semifinal berth

Despite being out-hit nine to seven, the Blue Jays managed to limit the Mustangs through the final five innings.

8-11-22StateAmateurBaseballGarretsonvsMtVernon-60.jpg
Action from the 2022 South Dakota state amateur baseball quarterfinal game between the Garretson Blue Jays and the Mount Vernon Mustangs on Thursday, August 11, 2022 at Cadwell Park.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — For the third time in the last five years, Garretson has earned a trip to the semifinals of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament on Thursday evening with a 2-1 win over Mount Vernon at Cadwell Park.

Neither team scored a run after the fourth inning, bringing the game to a defensive battle that the Blue Jays were able to win over the Mustangs for their third win in the last eight days in Mitchell.

The first two innings only featured three hits, leaving both teams wondering who would break through first. At the bottom of the third, Mount Vernon struck with a single from Chase Hetland and a double from Eric Giblin. The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead after three, but the Blue Jays quickly answered back.

At the top of the fourth, Nick Bonte and Scott Splett were the first two batters up to bat for Garretson and they both were walked at the plate after a total of nine pitches. The next batter up was Aaron LaBrie and he said based on the circumstances, his approach to the plate was different than originally planned.

“I came up with a runner on first and second with no outs and the debate was do we bunt,” LaBrie said. “We decided that it was too early to give away an out so we knew if we could get a 1-2 run lead we’d be in a good spot. We decided to try to put the ball in play and it worked out. We anticipated it going much differently and I would bunt. I think if it was in the seventh inning, I probably would have.”

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LaBrie was able to connect and double to left field, bringing both Bonte and Splett home, giving Garretson a 2-1 lead. Bonte gave up three more hits over the next three innings, before Labrie stepped in as relief and pitched the final three. LaBrie struck out six and gave up two hits in those final three innings, while Bonte struck out four and surrendered one earned run on seven hits in six innings.

“Mount Vernon is really a good team and they played some really good defense, cutting balls off to hold us to singles or doubles, but we have to take more pressure off our pitchers,” Garretson coach Austin Vanhove said. “Credit to Nick Bonte for playing the way he did in his third start of the year, along with Aaron doing a great job at the end.”

Garretson was only able to tally seven hits, but that turned out to be just enough in this contest. Dustin Steckler went 2-for-4 while Joey Fitzgerald and Jesse Brockhouse both went 2-for-3.

Mount Vernon was able to register nine hits from eight different players, including Bradley Dean who went 2-for-4 at the plate. Blake Moke took the loss at the mound for the Mustangs, pitching all nine innings, striking out five and allowing two earned runs on seven hits.

The state tournament run to the semifinals has not only meant a lot to the Garretson baseball team, but the fans in the community as well.

Vanhove said the community of Garretson has been through a lot this past year, especially after the death of 11-year old Benton Howe in a UTV crash in April. Vanhove hopes baseball is able to allow players and fans to relax and provide a team to rally around.

“Garretson has been through a lot this past year as a community and as you see how many fans have come out here to support us, baseball helps them get away from some of the stuff that’s been going on,” Vanhove said. “They get to relax and see some hometown kids play for their community and hopefully we’re making them proud.”

Garretson will play Lennox Only One on Saturday, August 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the first Class B semifinal.

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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