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Mitchell edges Valley Springs in extras for Region 2A title
By By Tom Savage
For the Challenger

July 30. 2013 10:29AM
Mitchell made it clear who’s carrying the momentum into the state Legion baseball tournament next weekend in Rapid City after beating top-seeded Valley Springs in consecutive days to claim the Region 2A title.

Mitchell defeated Post 131 11-10 in 11 innings at Harmodon Park behind 16 hits in the region championship game on Thursday. Lakin Neugebauer led Mitchell from the plate, going 3-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Mitchell’s title didn’t come without some nail-biting moments, as Valley Springs scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the score at 10 and eventually force extra innings.

But 11th inning heroics by Mitchell twins Jared and Josh Schmidt proved to be the difference. Jared Schmidt opened the 11th with a triple he clobbered to deep right field, well over the head of Jacob Bruget.

Josh Schmidt followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring his brother from third and securing the victory.

“He gave me a high-hanging fastball and I just turned on it,” Jared Schmidt said of the towering triple. “It definitely worked out.”

Josh Schmidt wasted no time advancing his brother home for the winning run, taking the first pitch deep to right field as well.

“I didn’t feel any pressure at all,” Josh Schmidt said of the crucial at-bat. “I knew for a fact that I was going to get him no matter what I had to do at that at-bat.”

Mitchell fell behind 7-3 after Valley Springs posted five runs in the fifth inning, then trailed 8-4 heading into the seventh before six unanswered runs pushed them to a 10-8 lead. Brandon Valley tied the game in the eighth when Jared Schmidt let a routine grounder between his legs at shortstop. Two runs scored on the play as the ball drifted into left field.

Schmidt redeemed himself in a big way in the field in the bottom of the ninth after leadoff hitter Luke Bauske singled. Two batters later, Nic Peterson hit a sharp grounder headed straight for the hole between shortstop and third base.

The ball looked to be a base hit when Schmidt made a spectacular play deep in the hole, and in one motion gloved the ball and threw to second base for a force out at second base.

“I knew I had to get it,” Jared Schmidt said of the play. “They’re all clutch plays down the stretch and I just knew I had to get it. Luckily I got a throw on it. I never give up on a play.”

Post 131 put two runners on base in the bottom of the 11th, but Matt Larson pitched Post 18 to victory, stranding both runners.

“It’s disappointing to see those mistakes, but it’s also great to see our guys come back without dwelling on them and still perform,” Mitchell coach Luke Norden said.

But it wasn’t that the Mitchell errors were too costly. Brandon Valley ended the day with six errors including two errant throws from left field that allowed runners to advance and score during Mitchell’s big seventh inning.

“Usually our outfield has been pretty solid but they were just air-mailing stuff today,” Valley Sprongs coach Grant Hieb said. “You just can’t do that against good teams. You commit six errors and you don’t deserve to win ballgames.”

Valley Springs Post 131 and Rapid City Post 22 will play the nightcap Wednesday in the first round of the Class A State American Legion Baseball Tournament at Floyd Fitzgerald Stadium in Rapid City. Post 131 and Rapid City takes the field at 8:30 p.m.

Earlier that day, Spearfish and Watertown will play at 11 a.m., followed by the Aberdeen-Pierre game at 1:30 p.m. Sioux Falls Post 15 West and Mitchell will play at 6 p.m.

The tournament continues through Sunday.
VS – 101 051 020 00 – 10 15 6
Mitchell – 001 021 600 01 – 11 16 2

VS – Jared Mulder, Nic Peterson (7) and Jacob Mulder
Mitchell – Jason Schmid, Jacob Rice (5), Aaron Sudbeck (6), Tyler Houwman (7), Matt Larson (11) and Michael Sadler.

After battling through 11 innings in the Region 2A Legion title game, Valley Springs Post 131 came up disappointed in the 11-10 loss to Mitchell. Despite the loss, Valley Springs advances to the Class A state tournament this week in Rapid City. Post 131 opens against Rapid City Post 22 at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening. For more photos from the game, see the photo gallery. Photo by Jill Meier

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