Four weekend home wins have lifted the confidence of the Rapid City Post 320 Stars.
So much so, they're going for two more victories today at Alliance, Neb., before they go across the parking lot to face rival Rapid City Post 22 on Tuesday.
The Stars completed a four-game Friday and Saturday sweep with a 9-5 win over Sturgis Saturday night after walking off Williston, N.D., 3-2 earlier in the day on a two-run double by Carter Stonecipher.
Although they have two games at Alliance today, there's no denying they feel better about things heading into Tuesday's rematch with the Hardhats.
"We've played a lot of games the past week and a half. It would be great to have another two wins and have a six- or seven-game win streak going into 22 with a lot of confidence," Post 320 manager Brian Humphries said. "Post 22 and 320 is always a big game and a big night."
Stonecipher had a big day with five RBIs and three hits, with his two-run double against Williston keeping the Stars' win streak going.
"He's always one of those guys where you always expect and hope he is able to run into one. He was able to get a pitch that he could drive and put it in the gap to score two," Humphries said.
Although he leads the team with nine home runs this season, Stonecipher said he isn't trying to hit the long ball, especially in crucial situations. That worked for him in the bottom of the seventh against Williston.
"I just try to stay simple and just work through the ball. Staying simple has been working," he said.
It's been a good four-game homestand for the Stars, who are now 28-18, winners of five straight games.
"We've just come out and hit the ball better than we had been," Stonecipher said. "Everybody in the lineup was able to hit and that was good. It was the hitting that carried us to win those games."
Coming back and playing for the Stars this season after one year of college baseball has made Stonecipher focus on his swing ... something he couldn't do as a pitcher only at Bismarck State College.
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"I didn't get to hit, I was just a PO (pitcher only). I came back to get the kinks worked out and hopefully get the chance to hit next fall," he said.
Against Williston, Ian Krump had three of the team's seven hits. Austin Lunde got the win in relief, giving just one hit and no runs in the final 3 1/3 innings. Orion Brenden pitched the first 3 2/3 innings, giving up just one hit and two runs. He did walk seven batters.
"Even though we were shut out the first five innings of the first game today, I still think we put together some pretty good at bats," Humphries said. "We just missed some holes and barely missed some baseballs. We were able to come back and put a few swings together and score two runs."
Behind the pitching of Renn Svenson, the Stars were in control against Sturgis, leading 7-0 after five innings. The Titans came back with five runs in the final two innings against Jared VonWald, but Post 320 still had plenty to prevail.
Devin Jacobs led the way against Sturgis with three hits and two RBI, while J.T. Kostenbauer, Krump and Stonecipher all had two hits, with Stonecipher driving in three runs
The Titans, who fell to Williston 8-3 earlier in the afternoon, came alive in the final two innings offensively with Colton Cruickshank continuing his hot bat with three hits, and Zach Hess adding two hits.
Svenson got the win, scattering five hits and no runs, walking one and striking out three.
"It was a very good week; we played good baseball all four games this weekend so far," Humphries said. "We have two more games left Sunday, but I couldn't ask for better results right now for the first four games of the weekend."
Post 320 will face Alliance in a doubleheader that begins tonight at 5 p.m., before taking on Post 22 Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Sturgis, 15-10, hosts Dickinson, N.D., in a pair of games Monday, beginning at 5 p.m.
Against Williston, Cruickshank had a huge game with four hits, while Carl Nash and Ridge Inhofer added two hits each.