Mitchell baseball fails to earn state tourney berth, Kernels fall 6-3 to S.F. Roosevelt
Mitchell's offense never really got going in the playoffs. The Kernels, who recorded only two hits in Saturday's first-round Region 3A tournament loss to Huron, ended its season Monday with a 6-3 loss to Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the Class A state...
Mitchell's offense never really got going in the playoffs.
The Kernels, who recorded only two hits in Saturday's first-round Region 3A tournament loss to Huron, ended its season Monday with a 6-3 loss to Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the Class A state high school baseball wild-card playoff game at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
"I felt like we had everything working," said Roosevelt coach Joel Sage, whose team will be defending its Class A championship. "We're definitely happy to go on the road and beat a good team like Mitchell and earn a trip back to state."
Seven Mitchell players had one hit each, but the Kernels never could break out for a big inning.
"You've got to commend our guys for doing much better offensively," Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. His team ended the season 16-9. "We just couldn't come up with that big hit."
Roosevelt scored three fourth-inning runs off Mitchell starter Evan Mastel to take a two-run lead. The Rough Riders added two in the fifth and one in the sixth off reliever Seth Cavanaugh, who delivered a first-inning RBI double at the plate that bounced off the left-field fence and was only a few feet from a two-run homer.
In Mitchell's final at-bat, Cavanaugh walked in the bottom of the seventh to load the bases with one out with Mitchell trailing 6-1. Jared Schmidt's hard grounder bounced under the glove of Roosevelt's shortstop to plate two runs and get the Kernels within three. But Josh Schmidt hit a bouncer that hopped off the third-base bag, and he was thrown out at first to end the game.
"We were a couple hits away from tying the game," Norden said.
Cavanaugh's early double scored Brent Havlik and had Mitchell anticipating a second straight trip to the state tournament, which starts Saturday in Sioux Falls. Cavanaugh advanced to third on his hit when Roosevelt tried to throw Havlik out at the plate, but he was stranded three batters later after a walk, a groundout and a pop fly out.
Roosevelt starter Connor Grove, who earned the win, retired 11 in a row from the last out of first inning to the first out in the fifth. He finally got some run support in the fourth inning, when Mastel walked the leadoff hitter, gave up a single, a suicide squeeze for an RBI and another single for a run.
"He was getting ahead of hitters and was getting guys out front," Norden said, referring to Mastel's first three innings. "He started trying to throw off-speed pitches early to get ahead. When you don't throw off-speed pitches for strikes early in the count, you get yourself in trouble. Then he was required to throw a fastball, and it kind of just snowballed from there."
Lucas Wilber had a two-out, two-run double in the top of the fifth that gave Roosevelt a four-run cushion, and Scott Tyler's two-out single to right scored the Rough Riders' final run of the game in the sixth.
In the same two innings, Mitchell's offense was not as lucky.
Cavanaugh struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the fifth, and Michael Sadler's hard line drive turned into a double play to end the sixth inning, killing Mitchell's first-and-third threat.
"We were hoping for a big inning, but it just didn't happen again," Norden said.
NOTES: Norden mentioned the large crowd that came to the game and said he was pleased to see the support the team got in its final game of the year. ... Lakin Neugebauer, Zach Bennett, Sadler, Mastel and Jared Schmidt were each named to the all-Region 3A team, Norden said. ... Mitchell's Legion team opens its season at 5 p.m. today with a doubleheader in Aberdeen.