After splitting a pair of games on the opening day of the Veterans Classic on Thursday, the Rapid City Post 22 baseball team was back in action on Friday evening.
Although the Hardhats trailed most of the way, some late-inning magic and costly mistakes on the defensive end by Sioux Falls West enabled Post 22 to pick up the 15-14 comeback victory at Floyd Fitzgerald Stadium on Friday night.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Sioux Falls West took the first lead with three runs in the top of the second inning.
Down early, the Hardhats wasted little time responding as they scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning. Riley McSherry started the scoring run, ripping a single to short stop that scored Timmy Paris from third base.
A short time later, Alex Weaver scored on a Cooper Bowman single to center, McSherry scored on a Drake Messinger sacrifice fly and Bowman reached home on a Zach Solano double to left to give Post 22 its first lead of the night.
Solano would later score on a Matt Vickers single to give the Hardhats a 5-3 lead.
Sioux Falls West had an answer of its own, erupting for nine runs in the top half of the third inning.
The scoring onslaught started on an Austin Wise single that scored Jack Simonson before a Conner Hurley single brought Isaac Nelson home from third.
Leading 8-5, Simonson continued Sioux Falls West’s big offensive inning with a two-run single to center field that scored Jalen Boyd from third and Alex Fiegen from second.
Sioux Falls continued to put runs on the board in the fourth inning as Boyd scored on Chandler Austin’s second RBI single of the evening to give West a 13-5 lead.
The Hardhats cut into Sioux Falls’ lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as Solano and Messinger scored on a Petry single.
Post 22 continued to claw its way back into the game in the fifth inning, scoring five runs on a two-run Messinger single, a two-run homerun from Solano and a Paris single to cut the deficit to 14-12.
Down two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Hardhats had one last chance and needed some timely hits to complete their comeback.
They got just that as Paris singled to left, tying the game at 14 with two outs remaining. A pair of costly errors allowed Post 22 to load the bases before Paris scored on a Justin Kraemer walk to give the Hardhats the 15-14 victory.
Paris led the way for the Hardhats with three RBIs on three hits while Solano chipped in with three RBI on two hits and Messinger finished with three RBI on one hit.
Hurley led Sioux Falls with three RBI on one hit while Austin, Simonson, Charley Illg and Austin Wise finished with two RBI apiece.
In other tournament action on Friday; Gillette, Wyo., dropped Colorado Springs 6-2, Helena, MT., defeated Sioux Falls East (14-3) and Mandan, ND., (7-3) and the Post 22 Expos dominated Colorado Springs 18-3.
The Hardhats (23-5) will continue tournament play tonight when they host Mandan at 7 p.m.