Coming off a successful weekend in Renner, Rapid City Post 320 coach Rich Downs was optimistic about the Stars as they played two games against the Casper Crush Tuesday at Pete Lien Field with the Gopher Classic on the horizon this weekend.
Downs ended Tuesday less optimistic.
After a slow start, Post 320 took the first game 12-2, but the offense fell flat in the heat of the second game and the Stars fell 7-1.
"There was no approach, we didn’t show up," he said. "We 10-runned them in the first one and thought we could show up and do it again. No one stepped up and took care of their business, and it was disheartening. We’d been playing pretty well, we’ve been on a little bit of a win streak so it was disappointing to see that effort in the second game."
After going 3-1 in Renner over the weekend, Post 320 let Casper get on the board with a run in the top of the second inning of the first game, but responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Both teams would add a run in the fourth, but from there the Stars' bats picked up, scoring six in the fifth and three in the sixth to end the game one inning early.
"In the first game we came out really slow and then we got hot a little bit, started to put some hits together and then took care of business, but you’ve got to come out right away ready to play right away and I didn’t see it really in either game," Downs said. "We got a break or two in the first one, took advantage of it and then got on a roll. But coming back from the weekend we had in (Renner), I was really disappointed in the effort we had in this game."
In the opener, Eric Gonzales led the way for the Stars with three hits and four RBI. Wyatt Hunt and Zane Salley also kicked in two RBI each.
Carter Stonecipher went the distance on the hill, allowing seven hits, two runs and striking out six. Post 320 outhit Casper 14-7 and the Crush committed three errors while the Stars committed two.
In the second game, Casper scored a run in the top of the first, but its big inning came in the fourth, when it scored four runs sparked by a solo home run from Kyler Helverson and a two-run double from Morgan Pickett.
The Crush added a run in the sixth, and Post 320 got a sacrifice fly RBI to score its only run in the bottom of the sixth.
The Stars' offense managed just five hits in the game.
"I think it's the grind. You have to respect your opponent. I don’t care who it is you’ve got to respect it and I don’t think we respected their ballclub today," Downs said. "We should have been able to 10-run them twice, but hey; that’s just me, I can’t play."
Post 320 will now set its sights on the Gopher Classic in the Minneapolis area, a 96-team that begins Friday.
The Stars will depart Thursday, and Downs said they have some work to do before heading to Minnesota.
"It’s a big tournament and if we’re not ready to play and don’t get our rest, then we’re going to melt in the humidity up there and it’s going to be tough," he said. "I didn’t talk to them very much after the game. I just said I didn’t have much to say, 'I was a little disappointed, clear the dugout and practice tomorrow.'"
Post 320 opens the tournament with two games on Friday, the first coming against Duluth Lakeview and the second against Excelsior, Minnesota.