The Rapid City Post 22 American Legion baseball team kicked off the 2016 South Dakota American Legion Class A State baseball tournament with a win over Brandon Valley.

Behind solid defense and pitching, the Hardhats held Brandon Valley to just one run on its way to a 5-1 victory at the Harmodon Baseball Complex in Sioux Falls on Wednesday afternoon.

“It started on the mound for us today and Cody (Carlson) was very good and controlled the game right from the first pitch,” Hardhats manager Mitch Messer said. “The guys played a good game on the defensive end as well.”

The Hardhats didn’t hesitate to grab the early advantage as Matt Vickers ripped a triple to right field, allowing Riley McSherry to score from second base.

Erik Petry opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a triple, followed by a Timmy Paris double to right to give Post 22 a 2-0 lead.

“I thought that our offense was fine today,” Messer added. “We were putting good swings on the ball and it took us a little while to get things moving.”

The Hardhats continued to add to their lead in the seventh as Drake Messinger scored on a Petry sacrifice fly and Paris scored on a Zach Solano triple to right.

Although Brandon Valley opened the eighth inning with a run, the Hardhats had an immediate answer as Petry was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give Post 22 the 5-1 lead.

Carlson had a big day on the mound for the Hardhats, allowing only one run on five hits while striking out five batters in nine innings.

Petry led the way for Post 22 with two RBIs on one hit while Vickers and Paris finished with two hits and one RBI apiece.

Messer understands what the Hardhats have to do and is making sure the team is taking it one game at a time.

Post 22 (46-11) will play Watertown in the second round of the tournament today at 4 p.m. MDT.

Stars fall short in opening round

Sioux Falls East jumped out to an early lead and held on throughout on its way to picking up a narrow 4-3 win over Rapid City Post 320 on the first day of the South Dakota Class A American Legion baseball tournament on Wednesday.

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The Stars opened the game with a one run lead, but had it wiped away as Sioux Falls East scored four runs in the bottom half of the opening inning.

The Stars cut the early deficit with two more runs in the third, but wasn’t able to score anymore runs the rest of the way.

Post 320 finished with 11 total hits, but couldn’t capitalize on its offensive opportunities.

The Story of the game for the Stars may have been the play of relief pitcher Devon Romey who came in just two outs into the game and took over. Down three runs, Romey pitched the rest of the way, allowing just one hit while striking out 10 batters. He also finished with one hit and one RBI on the offensive end.

Seth Brewer and Curtis Stahlecker also helped the Stars on the offensive end with one hit and one RBI apiece.

The Stars (31-16) will play Sioux Falls West in the losers bracket today at noon.

In the other first-round games, Watertown defeated Pierre 9-3 and Renner held off Sioux Falls West 4-3.

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