Ryan Bachman homered, doubled and drove in three runs and Rapid City Post 22 played a clean defensive game behind starter True Synhorst as the Hardhats came back to beat Yankton Post 12, 5-3, in American Legion baseball action Sunday at Fitzgerald Stadium.
Bachman’s heroics on offense led a Post 22 comeback from a 3-0 deficit after a half-inning of play. The Hardhats were outhit by Post 12, but half of Yankton’s 10 hits came in the first inning. Synhorst, after a rough start, settled in and pitched five innings of shutout ball, allowing only five hits along the way.
"That's a really good team over there,” Bachman said, nodding to the Yankton dugout. "We came out and had to grind a win out."
Post 22 turned three double plays and didn’t make an error in support of Synhorst, who gave up 10 hits, three runs and struck out four over six innings.
“Good defense starts with True,” Post 22 coach Kelvin Torve said. “He was making good pitches, low in the strike zone and we were getting ground balls in the field. He had a rough first inning, but he hung in there and threw six strong innings and shut them out the last five.”
Bachman sparked the Hardhats’ comeback with a two-run home run with no outs in the fourth inning that gave Post 22 its first lead at 4-3. Bachman, who was looking to hit to right field, instead turned on an inside pitch and knocked it over the leftfield wall.
“The first at-bat he pitched me really well; a couple breaking balls and some good stuff. I was really feeling like I was getting long in my swing," said Bachman, who also had a single on Sunday. "So I was just trying to shorten my swing up and keep the ball to the right side. Then his pitch ended up going pull side.
“I thought I'd caught it, but I didn't know. The wind was kind of blowing in. I've been singling guys to death lately, so it was good to see the ball go out.”
A slick piece of hitting an inning later resulted in a double to right field that plated catcher Ryan Schmidt, who singled to lead off the fifth.
“I was sticking with what we want to approach that at-bat,” Bachman said. “On that one, I stayed on a fastball and really just hit it.”
“It's a tribute to Ryan's (Bachman) work ethic. He's a 12-month, five- or six-days-a-week baseball player,” Torve said. “He's a baseball junkie, always thinking about the game, and now he's reaping the rewards.”
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Yankton started fast, trotting eight batters to the plate in the first frame.
Post 12 got back-to-back singles from Collin Zahrback and Caid Koletsky to open the game. Michael Drotzman doubled to score Zahrback, Ethan Wishon singled to plate Koletsky and Bailey Sage singled to knock in Drotzman.
Synhorst got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam by coaxing double play ball from Myles Carda to close the inning.
Post 22 chipped away with single runs in the second and third innings to pull within 3-2.
Bransen Kuehl opened the second stanza with a double into the gap in right-center field. Jace Caldwell then pounded a double over Post 12’s centerfielder to drive in Kuehl and make it a 3-1 game.
In the third, Messer singled and stole second. Bachman laced a single to move Messer to third. Messer scored a batter later when Matt Hegre drove him in with a single to get Post 22 within a run of Yankton at 3-2.
The Hardhats turned double plays in the third and fifth innings to keep Yankton from mounting much of a threat.
“There are a lot of different ways to win a baseball games, and today we discovered another one," Torve said. "We're finding ways to win 11-10 and 5-3.
"You can go deep into the playoffs when you have an intuitive sense of how to win a baseball game as a team. We're starting to develop that."
Post 22 (36-12) hosts Rapid City Post 320 (28-20) on Tuesday to close the home portion of its 2019 schedule. Game time is 7 p.m. at Fitzgerald Stadium.