Mother Nature played games all week long with the 44th annual Camping World Firecracker baseball tournament. On Thursday, she said enough is enough.
A heavy downpour of rain Thursday evening brought an end to the annual baseball classic, and Rapid City Post 22 and Eden Prairie, Minn., were declared co-champions.
Both teams finished pool play with 4-2 win-loss records. The Hardhats took the head-to-head meeting played earlier in the afternoon by a 4-2 count. Eden Prairie held a 2-0 lead in second inning of the championship when rain halted play.
“We dodged rain all week, and it finally caught up with us,” Post 22 coach Kelvin Torve said. “At least we got virtually all of the tournament in.”
Raindrops began to fall when the teams took the field in the title tilt.
Eden Prairie threatened in the first inning, despite not registering a hit. An error and two hit-batsmen loaded the bases with only one out. Post 22 starter True Synhorst worked his way out of the jam by getting a fly-ball out and a strikeout.
After Post 22 when three up and three down in its half of the first, Eden Prairie struck for two runs in the top of the second. Danny Pahl opened the inning with a double but was called out upon appeal for missing first base. Joe Cornelius followed with a single. Joey Danielson made it a 2-0 ball game when he tattooed a Synhorst offering over the left field wall for a home run.
A batter later, a rain that got steadily heavier as the game moved along became steady enough that umpires sent players to their respective dugouts. With heavy rains continuing and forecast to keep falling, the game was called and Torve and Eden Prairie manager Valdie Magstadt agreed to call the game and declare the teams co-champions.
“Eden Prairie was very gracious,” Torve said. “They said they would stay and play, but we agreed to call it.”
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The ending wasn’t fitting for two teams that played very steady baseball throughout the week. Eden Prairie opened 2-0 before dropping a Tuesday meeting with Terre Haute, Ind., and Saturday’s face-off with Post 22.
Post 22 started slow – falling to the Catalyst (Colo.) Cardinals and Terre Haute – before running off four straight wins with nearly error-free play both in the field and at the plate.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Torve said. “We weren’t going to take that 0-2 start lying down. We didn’t quit, we showed a lot of pride in who we are as an organization and as baseball players.”
Earlier in the day, the Hardhats jumped out with three runs in the first inning against Eden Prairie and held on for the 4-2 win.
Matthew Hegre blasted a two-run home run in the first inning after Eden Prairie opened with one run in the top of the first. Post 22 had nine hits by nine different players. Mason Messinger and Blake Weaver also had one RBI each.
Isaac Arnold earned the win on the mound, giving up just two hits and one run in four innings. Troy Wilhelm pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up the other run. Tad Scherbenske got a one-out save to close things off.
In the third-place game, Missoula, Mont., defeated Terre Haute 5-1.
Post 22, now 33-12, hosts Yankton in a doubleheader on Saturday, with games starting at 5 and 7:30 p.m., and a single game on Sunday, with an 11 a.m. start.
The home portion of the Hardhats’ schedule wraps up Tuesday with a game against rival Rapid City Post 320. That game starts at 7 p.m.