Brookings starting pitcher Matt Thomas delivers during the first inning of the Bandits’ 4-2 victory over Aberdeen in Game 1 of an American Legion baseball doubleheader Wednesday at Bob Shelden Field. Post 74 won the nightcap, 12-4, to complete the sweep. Photo by Sean Welsh/Register
BROOKINGS – Kelby Beste homered and the Bandits overcame a pair of early deficits in sweeping an American Legion baseball doubleheader from Aberdeen on a steamy Wednesday at Bob Shelden Field.
Brookings won by the scores of 4-2 and 12-4.
The Bandits (22-2) play host to Huron for a doubleheader on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
• Brookings 4, Aberdeen 2
Kelby Beste hit a two-run home run to left-center field in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift the Bandits to the victory.
Aberdeen scored a pair of runs in the first inning and starting pitcher Carter Paulson did not allow a base runner over the first three frames.
Riley Bullington walked and Skyler Cary singled to open the fourth, but both were stranded; however, Post 74 broke through with a two-out rally in fifth inning to tie the game at 2-all.
Corey Roach got it going with a single and Trevor Puetz reached on a throwing error. Bullington stepped up with an RBI single and Puetz reached third on an error on the play, which proved to be key when he scored on a wild pitch soon thereafter to tie things up.
Matt Thomas led off the sixth with a hit when Kelby Beste drilled an 0-1 pitch over the fence to provide for the final margin.
“It was nice to see Kelby get a couple big hits today,” said Brookings head coach Rob Hirrschoff of Beste, who finished with three extra-base hits in the doubleheader. “We’ve been talking to him about trying not to do too much. When he hits the ball hard up the middle and the other way, that’s when he’s at his best.
“Hopefully this will be a springboard for him; he’s for sure one of the best hitters in the state. If we get him going, our lineup is that much better.”
Thomas shook off a slow start on the mound to earn the win. He gave up two runs on six hits, with eight strikeouts and a walk, in a complete-game showing. The right-hander allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter over the final six innings.
Both teams finished with six hits, as 11 different players singled in the game.
Josh Amdahl scored on a passed ball and Dalton Cox added an RBI single to put the Smitty’s up 2-0 in the first.
Paulson took the loss, giving up four runs – two earned – on six hits, with three strikeouts and a walk, in six innings.
BROOKINGS 4, ABERDEEN 2
Aberdeen 200 000 0 – 2 6 3
Brookings 000 022 x – 4 6 0
Carter Paulson and Riley Swenson; Matt Thomas and Kelby Beste. W – Thomas. L – Paulson. HR: B, Kelby Beste.
• Brookings 12, Aberdeen 4
The Bandits’ Nos. 1-6 hitters each had two RBIs and Post 74 pounded out 17 hits in the win.
Brookings committed a pair of errors during the Smitty’s four-run first inning, but the offense more than made up for the miscues.
Konner Beste had a two-run single in the third and Kelby Beste added a two-run triple in the fourth to tie the score at 4-4.
The Bandits seized control with a five-run fifth. Bullington got it going with a two-run double; Thomas notched a two-run single; and Landon Busch tacked on an RBI single in the inning.
In the sixth, Cary got in on the action with a two-run triple and then scored on Busch’s bases-loaded walk to close out the scoring.
Thomas and Austin Koenig both went 3-for-4. Bullington, Kelby Beste, Busch and Matt Pejsa added two hits apiece.
Bullington, Cary, Thomas, Kelby Beste, Busch and Konner Beste recorded two RBIs apiece; and Bullington and Cary both scored three times.
Roach earned the pitching win, giving up four runs – one earned – on three hits, with three strikeouts and two walks, in a complete-game effort.
“I said to Corey after the first inning, you need to go out there like the second inning is your first inning, (and) he threw five straight innings of no-hit ball,” Hirrschoff said. “If he competed and started over, we would have a good chance to win the game.”
Michael Stotz had two hits, including a double, and an RBI for the Smitty’s. In the first, his bases-loaded RBI single to right field was misplayed, allowing two additional runs to score. Stotz also scored after a second error on the play.
BROOKINGS 12, ABERDEEN 4
Aberdeen 400 000 0 – 4 3 3
Brookings 002 253 x – 12 17 2
Zack Reierson, Griffin Hieb (5), Jacob Carrels (6) and Michael Stotz; Corey Roach and Austin Koenig. W – Roach. L – Reierson. 3B: B, Kelby Beste, Skyler Cary. 2B: A, Stotz; B, Riley Bullington, Kelby Beste.