Following a June 1 loss to Aberdeen, Rapid City American Legion Post 320 was sitting at 7-5 and struggling to score runs.

Head coach Paul Pool was frustrated, the team was frustrated, but times are different only a month and a half later.

Post 320 defeated Brookings 14-4 Saturday afternoon in the state play-in game, so after starting the season 7-5 they are going to the South Dakota American Legion tournament in Sioux Falls.

The Stars moved to 31-15 and will play Sioux Falls East in the first round of the tournament Wednesday.

"It's always one of our goals to get back to the state tournament," Pool said. "It wasn't quite how we drew it up, getting beat by (Post) 22 and Pierre and having to play in the play-in game. But I was really proud of the kids for the way they came out and for performing the way they did."

After the loss to Aberdeen in June, Pool said the lineup needed to be more consistent, which is something he said has happened since that loss.

 "They've battled all year, they've played well and lost a few games we should have won, but we're excited to get back," he said.

Through the first two innings of Saturday's game, it looked like there might be a pitching duel.

Brookings got the scoring started in the bottom of the third inning with two runs, but right after those runs the game was dominated by Post 320.

Pool said he wasn't worried when Brookings scored the first two runs.

"I wasn't panicked because I thought our offense could do some things," he said.

The Stars scored 12 unanswered runs and got a dominant performance from starting pitcher Brett Beyer.

Beyer went six innings, striking out three batters.

It was Beyer helping himself out at the plate, however, that was a huge piece of Post 320's win.

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Beyer had three hits, four RBIs and hit a home run in the fourth inning where Post 320 scored seven runs and blew the game wide open.

The top of the seventh inning was also big, as Post 320 scored five runs to take a 12-2 lead.

Brookings saved themselves from falling victim to the 10-run mercy rule by scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh.

It was the eighth inning, however, when Post 320 scored two more runs to take a 14-4 lead. The Stars ended it in the bottom of the inning by retiring the side.

There were plenty of extra base hits for Post 320, which was something Pool said he knew could happen.

"We've been getting plenty of hits lately, but today we really stepped up," he said. "We got some big extra base hits with runners in scoring position, which obviously gets the run total going up."

The bottom line for Post 320 is that it has more baseball to play.

"It's the state tournament, everyone is going to play everyone and some teams are going beat each other," he said. "We're going to go in, give it everything we have and see what we can accomplish."

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