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The Rapid City Post 22 Hardhats earned two hard-fought and exciting wins Saturday in the Gopher Classic American Legion baseball tournament in Minneapolis.

The Hardhats, 41-8, rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning and stopped Chanhassen, Minnesota 6-5, and then had to go nine innings before edging Burnsville, Minnesota 11-8.

With the two wins, Post 22 is 3-0 in pool play heading into two more games today.

In the opener, Post 22 opened with two runs in the first inning, but fell behind 5-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Matthew Hegre then gave the Hardhats back the lead with a two-run single, and Cooper Bowman moved from shortstop to closer and pitched a scoreless seventh for the save.

Bowman, with a two-run double in the first, led the way with three hits, while Connor King added a pair of safeties. Jack Sorensen also had an RBI.

Holden Jackson earned the win despite giving up three hits and four runs in two innings. Zach Chiolis started and went the first four innings, giving up three hits and one run.

In the second game, the Hardhats led 4-1 before Burnsville, the host site of this group, scored four times in the bottom of the sixth for a 5-4 edge. Post 22 tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the seventh and appeared to be on its way with three runs in the eighth.

But again Burnsville rallied and kept the game going with a three-run bottom half of the inning.

Bowman came through with a three-run home run in the top of the ninth, his seventh homer of the season. This time the Hardhats held on for the win. Zach Sumption picked up the win in relief, the fourth of four Post 22 pitchers.

Post 22 pounded out 14 hits, with Sorensen and Bowman both leading the way with three hits. Sorensen four RBI and Bowman three. 

Jace Caldwell, King and Todd Stephens had two hits each, with King and Stephens knocking in one run each.

Post 22 closes group play today with the Regina, Saskatchewan Athletics at 7 a.m. MDT and the Rochester, Minnesota Patriots at noon.

Stars split again at Gopher

For the second straight day, the Rapid City Post 22 Stars split two games at the Gopher Classic.

In the first game, the Stars got an effective pitching performance from Mitch Sand and Mason Russell to defeat New Ulm (Minnesota) Gold 3-1, before dropping a tough 5-3 decision to Laurel, Montana.

In the first game, Post 320 struck first with two runs in the fourth inning and after New Elm cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth, got an insurance run in the sixth.

Sand picked up the win, giving up just the one run despite yielding 12 hits in six innings. Russell had a scoreless seventh for the save.

The Stars had just five hits, with Wyatt Hunt and Camden Nayman driving in one run each.

In another relatively low-scoring game, Laurel scored in each of the first  four innings, leading by the final score of 5-3 after the fourth. The Stars scored twice in the first and once in the fourth.

Ian Krump had three hits and an RBI, while Dawson Penticoff added two hits and a run batted in. Dillon Martin knocked in the other Post 320 run.

J.T. Kostenbauer took the loss on the mound, giving up all five runs (one earned) on five hits in four innings. Carter Nesland pitched two scoreless innings.

Post 320, 28-16, will face the Saskatoon Diamondbacks today at 10:30 a.m. MDT.

Expos pick up first win at Gopher

The Rapid City Post 22 Expos dropped their first two games on Friday, but got in the win column on Saturday at the Gopher Classic, edging Giant Valley (Minnesota) 2-1.

The Expos scored single runs in the first two innings and were shut out the rest of the way offensively. But behind strong pitching from Troy Wilhelm, Post 22 just gave the one run in the fifth.

Wilhelm gave up just three hits and one unearned run.

Blake Waver had three of the seven Post 22 hits.

The Expos, 26-15, face the Rochester Red Hawks at 8 a.m. and the Moorhead Spuds at 10:30 a.m.

Sasquatch drop one-run game to Hastings

The Hastings Sodbusters rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to edge the Spearfish Sasquatch 8-7 Saturday night in Expedition League baseball action at Black Hills Energy Stadium in Spearfish.

Spearfish had scored three times in the bottom of the eighth for a 7-5 lead.

Anthony Rodriguez led Spearfish, 17-23, with three hits, while Charley Hesse and Carter Thompson hit solo home runs.

Riley Donahue had two hits and three RBI for Hastings, 19-25

Riley McSherry took the loss for Spearfish, giving up five hits and four runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief of Parker Schadke, who gave up eight hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings.

The two teams will close the weekend series tonight at 5:35 p.m.

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