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Post 18 plays in out-of-state Hladky tourney over weekend

Mitchell Post 18 is ready for 'team time' as it competes in its second out-of-state tournament starting on Friday.

Post 18 pitcher Peyton Nash throws to first base after fielding the ball against Post 22 on Tuesday at Cadwell Park. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Mitchell Post 18 struggled at the plate on Tuesday at Cadwell Park.

Its inability to hit off-speed pitches and move runners over with ground balls led to Rapid City Post 22 extending its win streak over Post 18 to eight games with wins of 5-1 and 5-0. Post 18 was held to four hits and nine walks between the two games, including Jake Goble tossing a no-hitter.

“I don’t know if it’s the best off-speed we’ve seen all year or what the deal was,” Mitchell coach Luke Norden said after Post 18 struck out 12 times. “... If we have a better approach about things, we can be happy about a groundout if it’s productive.”

Despite two losses and little offensive production, Mitchell was able to save pitchers before a long weekend. It travels to Sturgis on Thursday, then competes in the Hladky tournament in Gillette, Wyoming, Friday through Sunday.

With the rain over the weekend moving a doubleheader against Pierre to July 16, Jackson Sadler and Peyton Nash’s starts were moved to Tuesday. Isaac Rew also pitched two innings, but when the rest of the pitching staff takes the mound in Sturgis, it will have had a week off since it last toed the rubber.

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“The big part about not playing on Sunday was it gave all of our pitchers an opportunity to rest and have a couple more days off,” Norden said. “At this point of the season when starters are throwing on four days rest and relievers are being used frequently, it’s always good to have a little (time off).”

The Hladky tournament field is littered with unfamiliar foes, but Post 18 will still face a couple of familiar opponents.

It swept a doubleheader against Sheridan, Wyoming, on June 12, while it also plays Rapid City Post 320 for the only time this season. Gillette, Wyoming, is on the opposite side of the bracket -- Mitchell won the only meeting on June 13.

“If we run into (Post 320) in the state tournament, it’ll be a good opportunity to look at them,” Norden said. “... An opportunity to get to see everyone and kind of a measuring stick of how you match up with teams is important.”

This is Mitchell’s second of three out-of-state tournaments this summer, with the final being the Gopher Classic on July 12-16 in Minnesota. While Mitchell doesn’t have the comfort of playing at Cadwell Park, the road trip provides time for team bonding.

“An opportunity to hang out with the guys and not worry about other things,” Norden said. “Team time is always good when you go on the road for a while. You kind of look forward to those things.”

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