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Bowman at regionals

Post 22's Cooper Bowman gets a lead off of first base as Dubuque County, Iowa first baseman Jackson Bennett gets set Wednesday in the Central Plains Regional in Dickinson, North Dakota. Dubuque County prevailed 8-2.

The momentum of returning to the Central Plains Regional American Legion baseball tournament was short-lived for Rapid City Post 22.

Fresh off of their state title on Sunday, the Hardhats opened the tournament Wednesday in Dickinson, North Dakota on the short end of an 8-2 score to Dubuque County, Iowa.

The loss snapped an eight-game win streak and was just the third defeat in the last 23 games for the Hardhats.

"Obviously nobody was happy," Post 22 manager Kelvin Torve said. "But the one good thing is we have a game (Thursday), we're not eliminated. One thing this team is, it is resilient. I expect us to go out there and compete and be aggressive."

Post 22 got off to a good start when lead-off hitter Connor King opened the game with a single and eventually scored on a ground out by Cooper Bowman.

But that was all the Hardhat offense could muster until scoring one more run late against the Iowa state champions. Post 22 went into the game averaging over nine runs per outing.

The Hardhats had just four hits, two by designated hitter Jace Caldwell, who had a RBI double in the sixth inning.

Sam Goodman kept the Post 22 bats silent for much of the way, giving up three hits and the two runs in 5 1/3 innings. He didn't walk a batter and struck out five. Connor McDermott pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Torve said his hitters ran up against a very good pitcher.

"He was excellent. He pitched backwards and was very good at it, and we just could never get comfortable at the plate," Torve said. "I tip my hat to him because he really threw the ball well."

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Rapid City starting pitcher Dylan Richey opened well for the Hardhats with three shutout innings before Dubuque County got to him with three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Post 137 tacked on four more runs off of him in the fifth to basically put the game away.

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Torve said Richey went through three innings effortlessly, but ran into trouble the rest of the way.

"To Dylan's credit, he kept pounding the zone, but they put together two or three singles and had a flair double that went off the end of the guy's bat. They hit holes where we didn't," he said. 

Tad Scherbenske pitched the final 1 1/3 inning, giving up one hit and one unearned run.

"We did not play clean baseball either," Torve said. "There were a couple of plays that we had that we did not execute properly. That was a run or two, and the next thing you know we're out of the ballgame."

Jackson Bennett led the way for Dubuque County with three hits and an RBI, while Kyle Lehmann added two hits and three RBI. Dylan Gotto knocked in a pair of runs and Sam Link and Gannon O'Brien added a run batted in.

Post 22, 55-11, will look to bounce back today at 1:30 p.m. against host Dickinson, which fell to Omaha Burke 12-1. The Hardhats and Dickinson played three times early in the season, with Rapid City winning all three games, 10-0, 8-5 and 9-3.

In the other tournament games on Wednesday, Omaha Millard slipped past Wayzata, Minn., 1-0 and West Fargo edged New Brighton, Minn. 6-5.

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