Pitching, Dylan Soulek's walk-off homer helps Mitchell baseball to doubleheader split with Rapid City Stevens
After dropping a pitchers duel in Game 1, Mitchell won on a walk-off homer in Game 2.
MITCHELL — Dylan Soulek knew it right off the bat.
Basically everyone at Drake Field did, too. When the senior made contact in a tie game in the bottom of the seventh inning against Rapid City Stevens, all anyone could do was watch the ball soar over the left-field fence.
And that’s all everyone did, as Soulek launched a walk-off, solo home run to lead off the bottom half of the seventh and give Mitchell a 3-2 win in Game 2 to split a doubleheader against Stevens on Saturday.
“I was just looking for that one fastball down the middle,” Soulek said of his the first walk-off homer he's ever hit. “He threw me a slider down the middle and I took it because I was waiting for that fastball down the middle. So I just saw the fastball and jumped on it.”
Soulek was locked in at the plate over the course of both games. During Game 1’s 1-0 loss, he went 3-for-3 and accounted for three of Mitchell’s four hits, with Gavin Soukup collecting the other. And in the second game, he was on base three out of his four times up and scored two of Mitchell’s three runs, including the game winner.
“He had a good at-bat every single time,” coach Luke Norden said of Soulek.
And while Soulek was locked in at the plate all day, all five pitchers who toed the rubber were locked in, too. Mitchell’s trio of pitchers combined to throw 14 innings, allowing three runs on 11 hits and striking out seven.
In Game 1, it was Gavin Soukup who took the tough-luck loss, delivering seven innings of one-run ball — he gave up his lone run in the first inning — on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts. But Brady Bickett was better for Stevens, carving up the Mitchell lineup to the tune of 15 strikeouts during a complete-game, four-hit shutout en route to a 1-0 win.
“Their pitcher threw well, worked fast,” Norden said of Bickett. “We got to do a better job at trying to slow him down. We swung through more pitches (Saturday) than we have in a real long time.”
Peyton Schroder got the nod in the nightcap of the doubleheader and went five innings, giving up two runs, five hits and two walks with a strikeout. Peyton Mandel came in in relief during the sixth inning and got the win after he threw the final two innings without surrendering a run on one hit with a strikeout.
“Our pitching was awesome, just fantastic,” Norden said. “From every aspect, our pitching was just great.”
Schroder and Mandel helped Mitchell to a 3-2 win, while Stevens’ Colten Morlang went 6-plus innings with three earned runs allowed on seven hits to go along with four walks and seven strikeouts in Game 2.
Lincoln Bates had a pair of hits in the second game of the doubleheader, and Karter Sibson and Hudson Haley each had an RBI in Mitchell’s two-run third inning.
The split of the doubleheader moved Mitchell to 9-10 on the season. The Kernels will have a chance to end the regular season at .500 on Tuesday when they travel to Sioux Falls to take on O’Gorman before moving on to the regional tournament on Saturday, May 20.
“We’re doing a really good job of staying at it,” Soulek said. “Eventually things will start to fall in place and hopefully we’ll start winning some baseball games.”