Kernels' bats come alive in opening weekend, win two of three games to start the year
A 21-1 victory over Rapid City Stevens opened a weekend where the Kernels went 2-1 and scored 39 runs
RAPID CITY — The Mitchell Kernels' baseball team did not need much time to get their bats going this season.
An 11-0 run inning sparked the Kernels to a 21-1 victory over the Rapid City Stevens Raiders in five innings on Saturday, April 2, a win started that an opening weekend where the Kernels scored 39 runs in three games, split a doubleheader with Rapid City Stevens and defeated the Sturgis Scoopers on Sunday to start the season with a 2-1 record.
The first game with Rapid City Stevens quickly turned into a slugfest as the Kernels broke the game open in the third inning, turning five hits, three walks, two errors and two hit by pitches into 11 runs and a 12-1 lead. Second baseman Jace Larson picked up two of his team-high four RBI in the inning while driving in another run when he reached on an error.
The Kernels did not let up, adding another nine runs before securing the mercy-rule victory in five innings. The Dakota Wesleyan commit Larson finished with three hits and drove in four runs, while third baseman and fellow DWU pledge Jake Helleloid had two extra-base hits (triple, double) and had three RBI of his own. As a team, 12 Mitchell players combined to finish with 18 RBI, 15 hits and 10 walks.
Dylan Soulek got the win on the mound, giving up just one earned run through four innings while striking out seven. Peyton Mandel pitched a 1-2-3 last inning to secure the 20-run victory.
In the second game on Saturday, Rapid City Stevens took a three-run lead in the first two innings, cruising to a 12-4 victory to split the Saturday doubleheader. Mitchell’s Seth Muth, another DWU commit, and Dylan Soulek both finished with two hits apiece, but the Kernels’ could not slow down Stevens’s offense as the Raiders scored at least one run in all six innings in which they had at-bats.
On Sunday, the Kernels traveled to Strong Field to take on the Sturgis Scoopers, where they rallied for eight runs in the top of the seventh for a 14-7 victory. The Kernels led by one run entering their final at-bats, but the offense provided plenty of insurance to secure the victory.
After taking advantage of some miscues by the Scoopers pitchers, Larson came through again with his third hit of the day and his second RBI to give Mitchell the seven-run lead in the seventh inning.
Jonah Schmidt led the offense on Sunday with four hits and three RBI's, while Helleloid added two hits and two RBI's while also getting the win on the mound in relief with one unearned run and eight strikeouts in four innings.
Over the three games, the Kernels had 35 hits, 31 RBI's and drew 18 walks, showing their offense is more than ready for what is to come in 2022.
The Kernels will be back in action on Tuesday, April 5 where they will travel to Sioux Falls Lincoln to take on the Patriots.