Post 15 East never gave themselves a chance.
After opening the state legion baseball tournament with a pair of wins to set up a day three showdown with fellow unbeaten Rapid City Post 22 (the three-time defending state champs), East laid an egg on Friday night at Harmodon Park. Sioux Falls committed four first-inning errors to dig themselves a 5-0 hole that the Hardhats had no intention of giving away, as Post 22 cruised into Saturday with an 11-2 win.
Rapid City will take on Renner Post 307 tomorrow for a berth in Sunday’s finals, while East will take on Rapid City Post 320 in an elimination game. The elimination game begins at 1 p.m., with the Post 22/Renner match to follow.
And while East went home Friday night feeling like they beat themselves, it’s not like the Hardhats didn’t have anything to do with it. Rapid City banged out 13 hits – making East pay for their poor fielding – and right-hander Kolton Scherbenske took the early lead and ran with it, working seven strong innings for the win.
“We put pressure on ‘em, and that’s what we wanted to do early,” said Post 22 coach Mitch Messer. “We took advantage of their mistakes, and Kolton did the job and hung a lot of zeros.”
All told, East (31-21) finished with eight errors, as just three of the nine runs Jake Barkema gave up were earned. Many of those errors were unforced – plays where they could’ve held the ball instead of making a risky throw, and the fact that Barkema had good stuff on this night made them hurt worse. Post 15 didn’t have a bad night offensively, but missed out on opportunities early to make it a game. Chalk that up to Scherbenske. East put runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth and came up empty each time.
“He made some huge pitches,” Messer said of his starter. “He located his fastball and got some big punchouts when he needed them.”
Erik Petry had four hits for Post 22, while Drake Messinger, Matt Vickers, Timmy Paris and Zach Solano each had two.
Andrew White had three hits and a spectacular diving catch in right field for East, while Josh Nevin had two hits and was twice hit by pitch. It was an ugly game for Sioux Falls, but that almost makes it easier to move forward. They know this wasn’t a representation of the season they’ve had.
“We’ll bounce back tomorrow,” said East coach Matt Storo. “We didn’t give ourselves much of a chance when you throw the ball all over the place and give a good team like that as many extra outs as we did. But I think we still feel pretty confident. The guys are ready to get after it after a night like this.”
Follow Matt Zimmer on Twitter at @ArgusMattZ .
ROUNDUP & SCHEDULE
Rapid City Post 320 pulls away from Watertown Post 17
Watertown Post 17 scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to trim Renner Post 320’s lead to 6-3, but the Stars responded with six runs in the top of the ninth to secure a 12-3 win.
Post 320 collected 13 hits and capitalized on six Watertown errors.
Hunter Kiewel and Cam White both had a pair of hits for the Stars, while Zane Salley drew three walks. Brett Beyer, who struck out eight over 7.2 innings, and Devon Romey combined for seven RBI.
Kaufman drove in a run and drew a walk for Watertown. Deville had three hits.
—Brian Haenchen, Argus Leader
Post 307 Renner outlasts Brandon Valley in extras
A four-run 10th inning helped Post 307 Renner top Brandon Valley 7-3.
Brandon Valley led 3-0 through five innings, but Renner knotted the score with a pair of runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh.
Jackson Olson pitched all 10 innings for Renner, striking out five.
Brandon Valley ends the season at 27-21.
—Brian Haenchen, Argus Leader
S.F. Post 15 East vs. Rapid City Post 320, 1 p.m.
Rapid City Post 22 vs. Post 307 Renner, 30 mins. after