It was a sloppy game on a wet night. Yet, both teams will say the weather had nothing to do with the outcome.
In the rain Friday night at Floyd Fitzgerald Stadium, Rapid City American Legion Post 22 and Rapid City Post 320 combined for 12 errors as the Hardhats came back to defeat the Stars 8-7.
Still, it was a rivalry win for the Hardhats. Post 22 coach Mitch Messer said he thinks games like this can reveal a lot to a team about itself.
"I think we learned a number of things tonight, which is great," Messer said. "Obviously this is probably the worst game we've played this year and we still found a way to win. We hung in there, I liked our attitude. We continued to compete despite things not going our way early."
Post 22 committed five errors, while Post 320 committed seven.
Early, it looked like it would be one of those special nights in Post 320 history where it would take down its rivals from across the parking lot. In a second inning where Post 22 committed three errors, the Stars jumped ahead with five runs.
Little by little the Hardhats would chip away at that lead. Going into the bottom of the eighth, Post 320 led 5-2 when it would commit four errors, which led to six runs from Post 22, putting it up 8-5.
The Stars responded with two runs in the top of the ninth and even had the tying run on third, but Riley McSherry preserved the win for Post 22.
"That's Post 22 baseball, that's part of playing in this program. You've got to have that grittiness, these guys showed it tonight, they didn't give up," Messer said. "Again, we didn't play very well, but I'm proud of them and proud of the way they competed in light of the circumstances."
For Post 320, which fell to 10-4, it was a story of an opportunity lost. Seth Brewer went six innings, striking out two, giving up six hits and giving up one earned run. The Stars also got two RBI from Connor Burgess ,who went 2-6 at the plate.
Still, the second-ever win against its rival still eludes Post 320.
"They're obviously a good team, but you can't make that many mistakes and expect to win a ball game," Post 320 coach Paul Pool said. "We scored five (runs) in the second, and if you look at the scoreboard, we didn't do anything until the top of the ninth. I felt like we lost our aggressiveness at the plate, started taking a few too many pitches and then it started going zero, zero, zero.
"They're going to battle back, they're going to put good swings on the ball, they're going to be tough outs. Throw in the errors and that's where we're at."
The game started half an hour late because of light rain that had moved into the region. That rain came back and became heavier during the eighth inning, but Pool wasn't interested in blaming the weather for the errors.
"I don't care if it's raining, I don't care what crap is happening, you have to be able to catch a fly ball. I can look up right now and yeah, it's raining, but I could catch a fly ball," he said, referencing multiple fly balls that were dropped by Post 320 players throughout the game.
"I was proud though," Pool added. "I thought they battled and competed. Seth did an outstanding job. It was nothing Brady (Larson) did wrong, we just didn't play any defense behind him, then they got a couple of weak hits. We didn't play well enough to win."
Larson came in during the seventh and although he gave up seven runs, only one was earned. Of the eight runs Post 320 gave up, only two were earned.
Throughout the history of the rivalry, Post 22 has rarely lost to Post 320, but Pool said he doesn't think fear is what allowed the Hardhats to get back in the game and ultimately take the lead.
He said the days of his team being afraid of Post 22 are over.
"I don't think that was it. I never felt like they were intimidated or folded under pressure, we just didn't make the plays down the stretch," he said. "I thought we came out, competed and gave ourselves a chance. They made five errors and we made seven so it wasn't pretty but there were a lot of positives."
Messer also wasn't going to use the rain as a crutch for the play of his defense.
"I'm not going to blame anything on the weather," he said. "I thought early in the game we were trying to make routine plays difficult, and instead of keeping things simple, we tried to make them too complicated on defense."
Post 22 starting pitcher Kyle Maguire also walked five batters, most of which came in the second inning.
Maguire, however, made an adjustment after the second that made him more effective and he and McSherry kept Post 320 off the board until the ninth inning.
"In the third inning, he made an adjustment and went to his breaking ball and got away from the slider and that really changed things," Messer said. "After the five-run inning, that's the adjustment he made and it changed everything."
Post 22 (12-2) is next in action Monday with a doubleheader at Pierre, while Post 320 (10-4) takes on Mitchell on the road Tuesday.