The Rapid City Post 22 American Legion baseball team continued to roll as it took an early lead and didn’t look back on its way to a 15-5 victory over Mandan, ND., on the third day of the Veteran’s Classic at Floyd Fitzgerald Memorial Stadium, Saturday night.
Unlike Friday night’s comeback win over Sioux Falls West, the Hardhats jumped out to an early three run lead at end of the opening inning on Saturday.
Matt Vickers got the scoring started for Post 22, driving in a run on a double to center field. A short time later, Zach Solano scored as Erik Petry ripped a single into center field and Vickers scored during a pick-off throw to second following a strikeout.
The Hardhats added to their lead in the next inning, taking a 5-0 lead on an RBI single from Drake Messinger.
After Mandan scored its first run of the night in the top half of the fourth, Post 22 had an immediate answer in the bottom of the inning.
The Hardhats scored three more runs as Riley McSherry reached home on a wild pitch and Bowman scored on a Solano single to left field. Vickers would pick up his second RBI of the game on a double to left field, giving the Hardhats an 8-1 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Mandan wouldn’t go away without a fight, though, cutting the Hardhat lead to 8-5 with four more runs in the fifth inning.
Post 22 had another immediate answer for Mandan, erupting for seven runs in the fifth inning to put the game away.
Solano paced the Hardhats with three RBIs and two hits, Vickers chipped in with two hits and two RBIs while Petry and Alex Weaver finished with two RBIs and one hit apiece.
Zach Chiolis started the game for post 22, allowing just two runs on two hits while striking out two batters in four innings of work.
In other tournament action, Gillette, Wyo., dropped Helena, MT., (11-7) and Sioux Falls East (6-4); Sioux Falls West downed Colorado Springs, CO., 13-2 and the Rapid City Expos cruised past Mandan for an 11-1 win.
The Hardhats (24-5) hosts Gillette in the final game of the tournament tonight at 7 p.m.