Following a Saturday night doubleheader split with Harrisburg Post 45 where it committed seven errors, Rapid City Post 320 coach Brian Humphries called his team's defensive effort "unacceptable."
The Stars didn't just pick up its defensive effort, but put together a complete game in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday.
Post 320 knocked out 13 hits and committed only one error in a 9-1 win over Sheridan, Wyoming Post 7.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Stars lost 3-2.
In the first game a trend continued for Post 320, less than stellar first innings.
"It was much better, it was a little shaky in the first inning," Humphries said. "We made our only error in the first inning and gave up our only run in the first inning. This entire year for the most part those first one or two innings have been our biggest issue, we probably give up at least a run a game in that first inning."
Jaren Brewer scored the only run for the Troopers in the top of the first inning when he scored on a passed ball.
"We’ll continue to clean that up," Humphries said of his team's first inning struggles. "I don’t know if it’s an issue of being mentally prepared enough for the first pitch or what."
In the bottom of the first the Stars bats picked up. Ian Krump scored on a RBI single from Carter Stonecipher.
"I told my team I can handle one run in the first inning, I’d like to have no runs in the first, but not to have a crooked number before we even get to swing the bats is something we need to try to eliminate all together," Humphries said.
In the bottom of the second the Stars took the lead for good when Grayson Skinner hit a solo home run. The bottom of the third saw Post 320 scored four runs.
J.T. Kostenbauer scored on a double from Krump, who later scored on a passed ball. Stonecipher came around to score later in the inning when the Sheridan center fielder dropped a fly ball, and Skinner scored when Sam Matthes singled.
In the bottom of the fourth Post 320 scored two runs, Kostenbauer scored on a single from Devin Jacobs and Krump scored on a single from Skinner.
The scoring ended when Stonecipher came home on a sacrifice fly from Skinner.
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"This is what I expected throughout the spring, seeing our guys hit in cages I knew the swings and ability was there, it was just being able to have some outdoor consistency and to be able to see pitchers off the mound," Humphries said. "This is exactly what I was hoping for and what I expected."
On the mound, Logan Miller got the win after relieving Blane McQuay, who left after taking a line drive off of his foot in the first inning.
Miller gave up zero runs and went into the seventh inning.
"He did a very good job and he did a very solid job for us, he has two years of eligibility and he’s worked really hard to be in the position he’s in right now," Humphries said. "I wanted to have our starter in for longer but he got hit with a comebacker and having to come out we had to make due."
The pitching staff has had to make due all weekend, with six games in three days Humphries said he's had to ask a lot of different pitchers on his staff.
That becomes more true with a quick turnaround, as Post 320 will face Pierre Post 8 in two games on the road today beginning at 5 p.m.
"This weekend has been tough, we’ve had six games in three days and with Pierre tomorrow I have to save good pitchers for them," he said. "I have two pitchers who threw too many pitches on Wednesday and won’t even be eligible to throw until Monday."
Humphries said he knows that the Stars' bats will continue to produce, but the fundamentals are still what are going to take Post 320 to where it wants to go.
"Overall pitching and defense are still going to win championships," he said. "It’s hard to win games when you walk the world and make errors out on the field so if we can continue to do what I’ve always told them I think we’ll be able to score quite a few runs."
The second game proved to be more of a defensive game, as the Troopers came out on top to make Post 320 fall to 11-6 on the season.
The first inning woes didn't plague the Stars in the second game as they ended up scoring the first run in the bottom of the third, and then Post 7 scored a run in the top of the fourth.
Post 320 scored a run in the bottom of the sixth, but Sheridan scored two runs in the top of the seventh and held on for the win.
The Stars committed three errors to the Troopers' one and Post 7 outhit Post 320 7-5.