Postseason sweep: Post 18 completes comeback, staves off Brookings' rally
A wild comeback and early lead catapulted Mitchell Post 18 to the Regional second round of the Class A Legion baseball postseason.
Eighth-seeded Mitchell erased a five-run deficit in Game 1 to top ninth-seeded Brookings, 8-7, and then an early six-run lead turned into a 7-6 win to complete the doubleheader sweep on Tuesday at Cadwell Park.
“We knew we needed to come win,” Post 18 infielder Koby Larson said. “That was kind of our mindset the whole day. We came ready to go, came locked in. We came out ready to win two games.”
Larson was the hero in Game 1 for Post 18 with a walk-off single to score Carson Fahey, but it was just one hit during a string of at-bats that led to Mitchell’s five-run comeback win. Post 18 sent 11 players to the plate, which included five hits, three walks and a hit by pitch during the six-run frame.
“The main thing to do is work a count,” Larson said. “You’re just looking for something you can hit, something you can drive. I think everybody had a positive mindset. Everybody was working toward the one goal of scoring five runs.”
Even with Brookings taking out starter Rhett Zelinsky after 6.1 innings, Mitchell kept the line moving against Jackson Krogman. It continued to load the bases and its only other out came when Ryan McGinnis grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to one run. With two outs, Isaac Rew singled in the tying run and Peyton Nash drew a walk to set the table for Larson.
“We got a couple of numerous things to go our way and we just battled,” Post 18 coach Luke Norden said. “We’re a lot better when we play ahead, but we’ve done a good job of battling back in some games at the end of the year.”
Mitchell had chances to cut into the deficit earlier, but such as when it stranded two runners in the sixth inning, it failed to do so. A four-run fourth inning for Brookings nearly decided the contest, which put it up 7-2. Hunter Stahle still managed to last six innings in his start for Post 18, while Josh Grosdidier’s scoreless seventh inning earned him the win.
Nash, Larson and Jake Helleloid each had two hits. Helleloid also drove in two runs.
Zelinsky finished with three hits, while Krogman and Max Kjelden both had two hits for Brookings. Krogman doubled home Zelinsky in the second to give Brookings an early 2-0 lead.
The momentum carried over to Game 2, with Brady Hawkins shutting down Brookings’ offense and not allowing it to take another early lead. Hawkins allowed six earned runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings.
Hawkins’ impact transitioned to the plate in the third inning. He hit a one-out double, and then scored with two outs on Brady Brosz’s single. Helped by four runs crossing the plate on errors and Peyton Nash’s RBI single, Post 18 took a 6-0 lead.
“We were slow starting offensively, but (we took) advantage of (errors),” Norden said. “... I thought we did a really good job running bases.”
Brookings chipped away at the lead with the bat of Parker Rykhus. He hit an RBI single in back-to-back innings, which cut the deficit to 6-4 heading to the sixth. Mitchell added an insurance run on an error in the seventh.
A hit by pitch and one-out double put runners in scoring position for reliever Isaac Rew. Jamison Honkomp hit a two-run single, and then Rykhus drew a walk. Hunter Stahle caught a line drive and doubled up the runner on second to complete the sweep.
“For the most part, I thought defensively we did an awesome job,” Norden said. “Just a couple of sloppy things you look at in the first game, but overall we did a really good job defensively. And all of our pitchers did an outstanding (job).”
Mitchell (23-21) plays at Brandon Valley in the Regional second round on Monday and Tuesday.