It was a day of the long ball and a combined no-hitter as the Canyon Lake All-Stars and Timberline All-Stars are moving on to the State District Little League Tournament.
On Sunday, Canyon Lake won the B bracket title with a 7-3 win over Harney, while Timberline protected its home field with a 6-0 victory over Belle Fourche in the A bracket title contest.
The State District Tournament begins Friday at Timberline with Sioux Falls and I-90 representing the East River Sub-District.
CANYON LAKE 7, HARNEY 3: Canyon Lake won the home run battle and the game.
Harney got the first bomb, a solo shot by Korbin Madsen in the first inning. But Canyon Lake would respond with three home runs of its own — two by Wilson Kieffer, and the other by Tate Crosswait.
Kieffer's pair of two-run home runs came in the bottom of third and fourth innings, while Crosswait's dinger, a two-run shot, came in the bottom of the first. All but two runs in the game came from home runs.
"We gave up that big home run in the first inning, and to bounce back at this age sometimes is really tough," Canyon Lake manager Bill Holec said. "We got one right back in the next inning. It sends a positive message to the boys that you have to keep going, you can't put your head down or the game will be over."
Hayden Holec had three hits, including a triple, while Crosswait also had three hits and two RBI. Kieffer knocked in five runs.
"There's the philosophy that you win it with pitching and good fielding. We decided to win it with big bats," Bill Holec said. "It was kind of fun to see them come alive, and some of those guys haven't hit as well in the other games. To get that confidence going into districts is huge."
Crosswait said that in a way, hitting the home run is part of their game.
"We hit a lot of them in practice and coach spends a lot of money on baseballs that sometimes go in the creek at the shorter fields," Crosswait said.
Canyon Lake played all three games the scheduled six innings, beating Rushmore 4-3 and Harney on Friday, 6-3.
"We had three goals (games at Sub-Districts) and we made them come true," Crosswait said. "Now have goals four, five six and seven."
It was a tough loss for Harney, which had just three hits, closing the gap with a RBI single by JonPaul Sullivan in the seventh inning.
Harney manager Jeremiah McKnight congratulated Canyon Lake and said that once again it was two great teams battling it out.
"Wilson showed that he is that good. He helped his team out big-time, and Hayden pitched a fantastic game," McKnight said. "Nothing against our guys because they came to play also. They just left a couple hanging and they banged them out."
Holec gave up two hits and the three runs (one earned), striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings. Bryant Thaler got the final out.
The winner of the State District Tournament will play the North Dakota champion in a one-game matchup in Valley Springs. That winner moves on to the Midwest Regionals in Indianapolis.
"We're on the next landing and we start the next step (Monday) in practice," Bill Holec said. "We just keep working towards it."
TIMBERLINE 6, BELLE FOURCHE 0: Harrison Good might have been a little too, uh, good in the win over the Broncs.
He struck out 15 (of the 17 outs he recorded), walking one and hitting one batter. Technically, it was a combined no-hitter for Timberline as Good had to leave the game because of the 85-pitch count with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Gunner Rohloff came in and got the final out — another strikeout.
It all comes down to hard work, said Good, who had two no-hitters during the regular season.
"There's just a lot of work involved, a lot of workouts, a lot of grinding the whole practice. You have to work your hardest three or four hours a day," he said. "Baseball is something you have to commit to, and that is what I have been doing. It seems to work."
Despite the loss, it was a much better effort by Belle Fourche, which earned it's first-ever Sub-District win Saturday by beating Spearfish. The Broncs fell to this same Timberline team 27-1 on Friday.
It was a scoreless game through three innings as Belle pitcher Aiden Voyles did a good job of slowing down the Timberline bats with some effective off-speed pitches.
But Timberline broke through with four runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth. Thomas Freeman knocked in three of the six runs on a RBI single in the fourth and a two-run double in the fifth.
Turner Thompson and Landen Matkins also knocked in one run. Freeman, Cooper Morlang and Chance Yellow all had two hits for Timberline.
"Baseball is that way. Some days you have it and some days you don't," Timberline coach Bryan Olmsted said. "As long as we come out and play solid defense, you'll always hive your team a chance.
It also doesn't hurt to throw no-hit shutout.
"Harrison had a real good game. He's all business up there," Olmsted said.
Despite the loss, Belle Fourche manager Kyle Wahlfeldt said Sunday was more like he knew his team could play.
"We talked before the game about keeping Good (offensively) at bay because he is such a great hitter. Aiden kept him on his toes with breaking stuff," Wahlfeldt said.
"Our game-plan worked, it was just trying to figure out how to hit him (Good). It was tough from the very first pitch. But I am super proud of them. Our goal today was to stay in the game for six innings against them and we did that. We proved that we could compete."
Olmsted said it is an exciting time for Timberline. He expects a tough 1-90 team that is in its first year of Little League baseball.
"We won our first bracket. Now we have to put in more work," he said. "We have to put in the work, come to work and be ready to play."