Mitchell baseball offense comes to life during doubleheader sweep of Brookings
Mitchell baseball picked up a pair of wins over Brookings on Sunday
MITCHELL — The Mitchell baseball offense came to life in the fourth inning against Brookings on Sunday.
The Kernels scored 10 runs and sent 14 hitters to the plate in the fourth, en route to a 12-1, five-inning win in the first game of a doubleheader.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Mitchell answered with two runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead before plating 10 in the fourth to put the game away. Mitchell picked up seven hits in the game, with six different players recording a hit. Peyton Mandel had two hits and scored twice, and Karter Sibson and Hudson Haley each scored twice as well.
Parker Mandel delivered the big blow in the fourth inning, sending a three-run home run over the left field fence with two outs to put Mitchell up by 11 and in a position to pick up a 10-run rule victory.
“We came in before the game and guys had real good focus in the cage, making sure they were doing what they needed to do and competing in the cage,” coach Luke Norden said of the offensive outburst. “... I think a lot of guys (Sunday) squared some balls up because they hit the ball where it was pitched.”
On the mound, Dylan Soulek went the distance for Mitchell, throwing all five innings and getting the win in his first start of the season. He allowed five hits and one run, which was an unearned run in the first inning. He also picked up five strikeouts.
“Dylan threw a lot of strikes (Sunday),” Norden said of Soulek, who had 55 strikes on 78 pitches. “Ball in play, quick to two strikes, did a really good job of efficiency.”
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Mitchell.
Game 2: Mitchell 8, Brookings 7
MITCHELL — Lincoln Bates’ two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning gave Mitchell its first lead of the game — a lead it held to finish off the sweep of Brookings.
The homer, which came with two outs, capped off a two-out rally that produced three runs. Mason Herman started it with a double, and then Landen Soulek traded places with him, bringing Herman in on an RBI double before Bates’ long ball.
The Bobcats built a 5-0 lead after the first inning and a half, but Mitchell answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the second. A two-run homer from Addison Ronning off the left-field foul pole extended the Brookings lead to 7-3 in the top of the third, but Mitchell got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth before the fifth-inning rally put the Kernels ahead.
Parker Mandel, Herman and Soulek provided a spark at the bottom of the Mitchell order, as Mandel singled and scored a run out of the No. 6 spot, while Herman and Soulek each went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Herman, who hit eighth, had two doubles and scored twice, while Soulek, the nine-hole hitter, scored three runs.
“We need production from the bottom half of our lineup and they had some really, really good at-bats (Sunday),” Norden said.
On the mound, Gavin Soukup got the win, as he pitched in relief for the first time this season. The junior closed out the game with four shutout innings, allowing three hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts.
“Gavin did a really good job with his offspeed,” Norden said. “His changeup was really, really good. He kept the ball down with the wind blowing out. Hudson (Haley) did a really good job of calling pitches.”
Mitchell improved to 6-7 and will take on Sturgis at home in a doubleheader on Friday, May 5 for its next action.
“I told the guys earlier on, ‘We’re going to get better,’” Norden said. “‘We keep working hard and we’re going to get better.’”