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Post 18 sweeps Watertown, Renner twinbill

The Mitchell Post 18 Legion baseball team showed there's two ways to pitch a shutout on Thursday. In a split doubleheader at Cadwell Park, Mitchell pounded out 16 runs on 14 hits to blitz Watertown 16-0 in five innings in the opener, and then gri...

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Post 18's Jordan Dirkes scores on an errant throw to Watertown Post 17 catcher Ben DeVille during a game on Thursday at Cadwell Park. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The Mitchell Post 18 Legion baseball team showed there's two ways to pitch a shutout on Thursday.

In a split doubleheader at Cadwell Park, Mitchell pounded out 16 runs on 14 hits to blitz Watertown 16-0 in five innings in the opener, and then grinded out just three runs and five hits to get past Renner in a 3-0 win in the nightcap.

In both games, pitching put Mitchell in prime position to earn the win. Jared Miller allowed just three hits in five innings with four strikeouts to hold back Watertown. In the second game, Baley Miller threw just 68 pitches in seven innings, while scattering four hits and striking out three.

Since July 6, Mitchell has won 11 of its last 14 games and stands at 25-21 overall. Post 18 hosts Brandon Valley for a nine-inning game at 7 p.m. today at Cadwell Park.

"The pitching, we just couldn't ask for anything more there," Mitchell coach Luke Norden said. "Going forward in the last few weeks, we've talked about playing for the important innings and asking who's going to be the guy on the mound to lead us? And guys have taken that seriously and they're all saying, I want to be the guy that makes it happen, which is just awesome to see."

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Mitchell got off to a quick start in the opening game, scoring eight runs in the second inning and five runs in the third inning for a 14-0 lead after three frames.

Drew Kitchens was 4-for-4 and knocked in three runs, while Austin Kerr had three RBIs. Jordan Dirkes had two hits, two runs and knocked in two runs, while Carter Max had two hits and three runs scored. Logan Sparks had two hits and Sam Michels, Brady Hawkins and Calvin Hegg each scored two runs, as Post 18 took advantage of five Watertown errors.

In the second game with Renner, Mitchell didn't get a hit until the fifth inning but broke through quickly. Carter Max and Koby Larson each had two-out singles and Jared Miller drove them both in with a triple to the alley in right-center field. In the sixth, Dirkes scored on a single to center from Peyton Nash to set the final margin. The Mitchell defensive effort was led by Michels, who caught two runners stealing second from his catcher spot and picked off a third Royals' runner at first base in the seventh inning.

"We've been way better with two strikes (hitting) lately," Norden said of the offense. "We have had better approaches in hitters' counts and we've talked a lot about trying to take advantage when we get the chances. That only makes us better."

NOTES: Prior to Post 18's game against Renner, Mitchell honored its three senior players: catcher/pitcher Jordan Dirkes, infielder/pitcher Drew Kitchens, outfielder/pitcher Baley Miller.

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