The jitters were there and so were the base hits, putouts and strike outs.
Harney Little League, Canyon Lake Little League and Timberline Little League call came away with strong wins to open the respective West River Sub-District tournaments at the Canyon Lake Complex on Thursday.
In the A bracket. Canyon Lake shut out Rushmore 10-0 and will advance to meet Belle Fourche today at 5 p.m. Belle Fourche had a first-round bye.
In the B bracket, Harney got past Spearfish in a tough game, 6-1, and Timberline broke away late from Sturgis 14-2. Harney and Timberline will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. In a loser-out game at 2:30 p.m., Spearfish will take on Sturgis.
Harney solid in tough win over Spearfish
In the closest game of the day, it was a tough 1-0 contest through three innings before the Harney bats came alive in the fourth and fifth innings.
Harney scored twice in the fourth and three more times in the fifth to take control.
"We had a slow start with quiet bats, but defense is our strong point and that is what really showed today," Harney coach Derrick Brooks said. "We gave some extra outs, but we battled back and didn't let it cost us. I'm proud of the boys, that's the first game in the books and hopefully the jitters are gone."
Like all all-star teams, Brooks said his players were getting a little tired of practicing against themselves. They needed to see some different uniforms on the field.
"They were ready. They couldn't wait for game time. They were excited," Brooks said. "A couple of them had some nerves and that showed early. But that is baseball. Even I had some nerves. It was a good learning experience, so now we just go to the next game.'
In its rally in the middle of the game, the Harney bats and legs were aggressive, taking advantage of Spearfish mistakes with strong baserunning and timely hitting.
That's their game, Brooks said.
"One thing we will always do is run aggressive," he said. "We have a fast team, so we'll make sure we' take advantage of every mistake that we can and if we don't get them, we still have to play good defense and pitch well. We did that."
Mason Brooks led the way for Harney with two hits, including a double, and two runs batted in. Declan Mickley had the other RBI for Harney, which finished with seven hits.
Four Harney pitchers gave up just four Sturgis hits.
Braden Ericks led Spearfish with a pair of hits, including a triple.
Canyon Lake jumps on Rushmore early for shutout win
Even with a bit of a slow start, Canyon Lake was in control early, using a five-run second and strong pitching for the four-inning win over Rushmore.
Canyon Lake pounded out 12 hits and had no errors, and Ryan Larson went the distance for the win on the mound.
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"I think they were tired of practicing," Canyon Lake coach Brett Womeldorf said. "They wanted to go out and play baseball. We were a little anxious in that first inning swinging the bats. We still got a couple of runs, but we came back and all of the sudden they started hitting the ball solid, even getting outs, they were hard-hit balls and that is what we ask the kids to do. They didn't have to get a hit, just hit it hard."
Larson gave up just three hits, walking no one and striking out five. And he did it on just 45 pitches, including 35 strikes.
"Ryan was on our Little League team (Rockers) this year, so we know what he can do and he was tough for us all year," Womeldorf said. "He's a competitor, and that is huge in these games. You don't want a kid to cower away, you want a kid to step up and go after it."
Rushmore had just three baserunners in the four innings.
"Defensively we are going to be a pretty solid team," Womeldorf said. "We have to throw strikes. Throw strikes, let them hit the ball and we got guys who can make plays in the field."
Sam Lust and Jhett Peterson led the Canyon Lake offense with two hits each, while Larson had two RBIs, as did Aiden Roberts.
Womeldorf said they are looking forward to Belle Fourche tonight.
"We're going to compete. That's kind of the motto of our team. Win or lose, we're going to do is compete," he said.
Timberline steady in win over Sturgis
Timberline scored runs in every inning, but put the game away with a seven-run sixth inning.
Timberline coach Molloy Dial said the nerves finally wore off for his team.
"You can tell the first four innings they were jittery. Two weeks of practice without games is a long time," he said. "But we tell them it is just one game at a time. But they are 12-year old boys. Finally a couple hits here, a couple of hits there, making a play, start throwing some strikes, and they relaxed. You can see them start to smile, have fun and enjoy the game."
Jackson Dial went just two innings before leaving the game after being hit on the ankle on a ground ball. Colton Marlang came in and dominated Sturgis, allowing no runs and no hits, walking three and striking out eight in 3 2/3 innings.
"Colton came in and threw lights out. He was on tonight, hitting his sports. He did a wonderful job for us."
Molloy Dial said it is always good to get the first game played, get some of the nerves, the jitters out.
"The W is always what you strive for," he said. "Sturgis came out ready to go. The first four innings, you can't take anything away, they were ready to play.
Ian Beer and Braydon Fox had big games offensively for Timberline with three hits each. Fox drove in four runs and Beer two runs. Jackson Dial also had a pair of hits and an RBI.
Molloy Dial said they will be ready for Harney in tonight's late game.
"They are going to be ready to roll and we'll be ready to roll," he said. "We'll see where it is. Baseball is a funny game of bounces and all that kind of stuff. Let's just go out and play and have fun and enjoy it."