After a slow start to the season, the Rapid City Post 22 American Legion baseball team appears to be finding its stride on both sides of the ball as the Hardhats traveled to Pierre Tuesday to take on Post 8 in an evening doubleheader.
Rapid City continued to hit that stride in a big way as its bats erupted for a pair of 16-2 wins at Hyde Stadium.
The Hardhats took control of the first game in the opening inning when Ryan Bachman hit a two-run home run to center to grab a 2-0 lead.
Rapid City added three more runs in the inning on a wild pitch, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly from Drew Messer.
After Pierre cut the deficit to 5-2 with a pair of runs in the second, Post 22 answered immediately with a trio of runs, two of which came on a Matthew Hegre triple to center.
The Hardhats pulled away for good in the fourth when their offense erupted for eight more runs.
The first three runs came on a Mason Messinger double, followed by a Jace Caldwell RBI single.
Up 12-2, Bransen Kuehl singled to left to score another run and Ryan Schmidt knocked in two more on a single to center.
Messinger led the way for Rapid City with two hits and four RBI, while Hegre, Kuehl and Schmidt chipped in with two hits and two RBI apiece.
The second game wasn’t much different as the Hardhats took a 4-0 lead at the end of the second inning.
In the third, Post 22 continued to pull away when Jake Goble kicked off the team’s first six run inning of the game with a home run to center.
A few batters later, Messinger added another run on an RBI double, followed by a Bachman RBI on an error, a Hegre RBI single and a two-RBI double from Messer.
Up 10-2 in the top of the sixth, Post 22’s offense wasn’t quite done as Bridger Nesbit hit a home run to kick off the inning and Daniel Vigoren piled on with a two-RBI double.
Bachman joined the scoring for Rapid City a short time later with a triple to bring in a pair of runs and make it 15-2.
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While the offense played a big role in the win, the team’s pitching and defense made a big difference as well.
Troy Wilhelm earned the win on the mound, throwing five innings, allowing just four hits and two runs, while striking out six batters.
The Hardhats also closed out the game without committing an error, while Pierre finished with two.
Rapid City Post 22 (17-7) looks to continue its current hot streak as it hosts Sturgis Post 33 tonight at 7 p.m.
SPEARFISH SASQUATCH 11, WHEAT CITY WHISKEY JACKS 1: Spearfish pulled away late as it cruised to a win over Wheat City Tuesday night in Spearfish.
The game was close early as the Sasquatch held on to a one run lead at the end of the second and a 2-0 advantage at the end of the fifth.
In the seventh, Spearfish began to pull away with three runs, all of which came on a three-run bomb from Jake Gray.
The Sasquatch did a majority of their damage in the eighth, scoring six runs to take an 11-0 lead.
Gray added to what was already a big day on the offensive side of the ball on an RBI double that brought Josue Rangel home.
Spearfish’s offense was led by Gray, who went 5-for-5 and finished with two runs and five RBI. Brent Richey added a hit and three RBI, while Rangel had four hits in five at bats.
Zachary Filos had a good day on the mound for Spearfish, giving up six hits and one run, while striking out eight in nine innings.
The Sasquatch (10-5) will be back in action today when they host Wheat City in the second game of a three-game series at 6:35 p.m.