Post 74 second baseman Corey Roach tries to complete a double play. Photo by Mike Carroll/Huron Daily Plainsman
• Brookings beats S.F. Post 307, 12-2, in 8 innings
HURON – Phase 1 is complete – Brookings Post 74 is heading back to the state tournament.
The Bandits got another solid outing on the mound – this time a five-hitter from Matt Thomas – and had plenty of offense while posting their second consecutive run-rule victory, 12-2, over Sioux Falls Post 307 on Wednesday in a Region 1A American Legion Baseball Tournament game.
“Going into a tournament like this, your first goal is qualifying for the state tournament, which means win two games before you lose two,” said Brookings head coach Rob Hirrschoff. “We accomplished that goal and now (with a win today) we could get a little bit better draw in the state tournament and more than anything, continue to play good baseball and hopefully go into the state tournament on a hot note.”
There wasn’t much suspense in qualifying for state this season, as the Bandits outscored a pair of opponents a combined 23-3.
“I think we’re playing well … It was a little easier route but at the same time, we’ve just got to take care of the team that’s in front of us and continue to play good baseball,” Hirrschoff said. “Definitely there have been years where we’ve had to sweat it out more; but however you get there we ultimately accomplished the goal of getting to the state tournament.”
Even though both state tourney bids have been handed out, the region title is still up for grabs today when Brookings faces fellow-qualifier Watertown at 1 p.m. Should Post 17 win, a second championship game will be played at approximately 4 p.m.
Thomas allowed two runs – one earned – on five hits while striking out five and walking two. He also went 2-for-4 with three RBIs at the plate.
“Matt pitched a game very similar to all his outings this season – he went out there and hammered the strike zone, worked fast and forced the team to put the ball in play,” Hirrschoff said. “We played good defense behind him. With Matt and Landon (Busch) these last two days, that’s kind of been one of the biggest reasons for our success – two great pitchers and they both pitched well; put there teams on their backs a little bit.
“But at the same time, they had a lot of run support, which makes it a little bit easier for them; a little bit more room to breathe.”
Corey Roach’s sacrifice fly plated Kelby Beste to open the scoring in the second; and the Bandits took control with a five-run third inning. Brookings recorded three hits and took advantage of three errors in the big frame.
Kelby Beste made it 2-0 with an RBI single. With two outs, Konner Beste added an RBI single and Roach roped a two-run single to make it 5-0. Thomas McMacken, who was hit by a pitch, scored on an error after Trevor Puetz’s batted ball was misplayed at third. That put the Bandits up 6-0.
Post 74 pushed the margin to 8-0 in the sixth. Riley Bullington and Skyler Cary drew one-out walks and scored on a single by Thomas and a sacrifice fly by Kelby Beste.
Post 307 got on the board in the bottom of the sixth; but Brookings pushed the margin to 11-1 in the seventh. Following consecutive one-out singles by McMacken, Roach and Puetz, Bullington drove in a run with another single. Thomas added a two-run single with two outs.
Sioux Falls again scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh, before Brookings closed out the scoring on Puetz’s RBI double in the eighth. Thomas worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the frame to retire the side and end the game via the 10-run rule.
The Bandits recorded 13 hits, drew eight free passes (six walks) and did not strike out in the victory.
“As I’ve said many times, the strength of our lineup is up-and-down the lineup,” Hirrschoff noted. “Today, for example, some of the guys at the top and in the middle didn’t swing that well; and the bottom of the order really picked us up.
“Nos. 7-8-9 really had good at-bats and had some big hits for us. That’s our biggest strength, we’ve got guys 1-9 who can put a lot of pressure on the defense and put good swings on it.
“If we continue to have good at-bats like we’ve had the last two days, I think that will bode well for the state tournament.”
McMacken, Roach and Puetz – the Nos. 7-9 hitters – had two hits apiece, as Roach notched three RBIs. Cary also had two hits and Kelby Beste finished with a pair of RBIs.
Nick Ratzloff led Post 307 with two hits. Sioux Falls was held to one hit over the first five innings.
Austin Clark took the pitching loss, giving up six runs – one earned – on six hits with two walks in five innings. Max DeHaan worked the final three frames, allowing six runs – five earned – on seven hits with four walks.
Notes: The Bandits, who qualified for their second consecutive state tourney, have a 37-6 record this season. ... Brookings is 4-1 versus Watertown this season, including an 11-1, five-inning victory in Tuesday’s region opener.
BROOKINGS 12, SIOUX FALLS POST 307 2 (8 inn.)
Brookings 015 002 31 – 12 13 2
S.F. Post 307 000 001 10 – 2 5 4
Matt Thomas and Kelby Beste; Austin Clark, Max DeHaan (6) and Ben Reznicek. W – Thomas. L – Clark. 2B: B, Trevor Puetz.
• Other games
Watertown (22-19) staved off elimination with a 6-3 win over Huron on Wednesday afternoon and then defeated Sioux Falls Post 307, 10-2, in the night game to clinch a state tourney berth.
Brody Ries threw a complete game, allowing 11 hits, against Huron. Post 17 scored five runs over the first two innings and never trailed. Kolton Michalski had two hits to lead the offense.
Against Post 307, Watertown broke open a 2-2 game with two runs in the seventh and six in the eighth. Michalski pounded out four hits, including a triple, to lead Watertown’s 17-hit attack. Trevor Jutting added two doubles and a single. Michael Sitter pitched all nine innings, giving up seven hits.
WATERTOWN 6, HURON 3
Watertown 320 001 000 – 6 6 0
Huron 000 111 000 – 3 11 4
Brody Ries and Kolton Michalski; JR Hott, Ty Waddle (7) and Zach Cranston. W – Ries. L – Hott. 3B: H, Ty Waddle. 2B: W, Mitch Trego, Brody Ries; H, Matt Johnson.
WATERTOWN 10, SIOUX FALLS POST 307 2
S.F. Post 307 100 100 000 – 2 7 1
Watertown 001 010 26x – 10 17 1
Matt Koch, Jerron Saxon (4), Alex Brink (5), Nick Stearn (7) and Ben Reznieck; Michael Sitter and Kolton Michalski. W – Sitter. L – Koch. 3B: W, Michalski. 2B: W, Mitch Trego, Trevor Jutting 2, Jonny Pfeifer.