Call it is a tune-up for the massive Gopher Classic this weekend, but Rapid City Post 22 coach Kelvin Torve had two specific things he wanted to see from his team against the Westco Zephyrs Tuesday night at Fitzgerald Stadium.
He got what he wanted and then some, as he also got a relatively smooth win as Torve went with a much different lineup in the 10-2 win over the Zephyrs.
"One, regardless of who we had in the lineup, I wanted to see us compete, and we did. It didn't turn into a 'hit and giggle,' which is what I call it. The guys on the bench were also in the game," he said. "The second thing is we wanted to get other guys at-bats, because when we move into this tournament play, there is going to be times when guys won't have an at-bat in 10 days, and he is going to be called upon to go up and hit a sac fly or hit a ground ball to the middle infield to score a run. We expect them to put in a good, competitive at-bat."
Several Hardhats also played positions on the field that they haven't played a lot or haven't played at all this season.
Point in case: Holden Jackson at third base and Drew Messer in center field. Both excelled, as Jackson handled several ground balls and Messer made a impressive diving catch to rob a Westco player of what likely would have been an extra-base hit.
"We got guys in positions that they may need to play in the eighth inning or an extra inning of a state-tournament game if we start pinch-hitting," Torve said. "We have to make due with what you have, so games like this help us prepare for that."
The Hardhats jumped on Westco for four runs in the first inning, highlighted by RBI singles by Ryan Schmidt and Ryan Bachman, a RBI double by Bransen Kuehl, and a run-scoring groundout by Jackson.
Post 22 then added one run in the second, two in the third and three more in the fourth. Jackson had a RBI double in the second, while Messer doubled home a run in the third and Schmidt the same in the fourth. Post 22 tacked on two more runs in the fourth on a Westco error.
Jackson finished with three hits and two RBI, while Schmidt had two hits and two runs knocked in and Mason Messinger two hits and one RBI.
Zach Sumption was solid for the Hardhats on the mound, scattering five hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out two.
Trent Richter had two hits for Westco, which fell to 13-31 with the loss.
Post 22, 38-8, will open the 96-team Gopher Classic Friday at noon (MDT) against Stillwater, Minnesota.
Torve, who has never been to the Gopher Classic, said he is anxious to play in the tournament.
"It's a good chance for us to measure ourselves to some very good competition. It's a good chance for our guys to play in front of college coaches," he said. "It sounds like it is a really well-run tournament, and I'm looking forward to it."
POST 22 EXPOS 13, WESTCO ZEPHYRS 3: The Expos defeated the same Westco team in a six-inning 10-run rule win.
The Expos broke the game open with a seven-run fifth inning.
The Expos had eight hits in the game. including six doubles. Daniel Vigoren had two hits and an RBI, while Jeremy Weidmann knocked in three runs. Colton Hartford also had two RBI.
Three Expos pitched, with Brayden Burrus getting the win with two innings of relief of starter Troy Wilhem, who pitched the first three innings. Hartford pitched the final inning.
The Expos, 25-13, will also compete in the Gopher Classic, and will face West Fargo, North Dakota at 3:30 p.m. and Bloomington Gold at 6 p.m.