Hunter Tillery has done it all for the Rapid City Post 22 program this summer.
Playing with the junior varsity Expos for much of the year, the 16-year-old Tillery has received spot starts with the varsity Hardhats.
And he's played well, capped off with a seven-inning shutout on the mound for Post 22 in the 4-0 win over Yankton in the first game of the doubleheader Saturday at Fitzgerald Stadium. The Hardhats completed the sweep with a big 9-6 come-from-behind win in the nightcap.
In just his third start with the varsity, Tillery is now 3-0. Going in, he had pitched just over nine innings with the team.
After giving up a double off of the wall on his first pitch to Yankton's Collin Zahrbock, Tillery yielded just two hits the rest of the way.
"I knew I was in for a good game," he said. "I just focused and made them get themselves out and trust my team behind me."
He said his fastball was on from the beginning, but his breaking ball was a little suspect early. After a visit from pitching coach Ryan Klapperich, he said he turned things around.
"Eventually Coach Klapp came out and slowed my game a little bit," Tillery said. "He told me to just do what I do out there. After that I felt like I controlled every pitch."
The Hardhat offense scored single runs in the second and third and made it a 4-0 game in the fifth. It was plenty with Tillery on the mound.
"I always feel like it is an honor to come up ... not everybody gets to wear the Hardhat," he said. "It's fun to play with all of the guys who want it, just recognize the competition and the energy you need to bring to compete at the varsity level."
Ryan Bachman and Matthew Hegre led the way with two hits each, with Hegre knocking in a pair of runs. Alex Weaver and Thomas Maguire also knocked in one run each.
There was a bit of drama in the second game, as Yankton led 3-0 and 5-2 before the Hardhats came alive and put pressure on the Post 12 defense.
Hegre's eighth home run of the season, a solo shot with two outs, cut the lead to 5-3 and Post 22 would go on to add four more runs in the inning, the final two on Yankton errors.
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Suddenly, the Hardhats were up 7-5.
Yankton closed the gap with a run in the top of the sixth, but Post 22 answered with two in the bottom half of the inning.
"A two out rally when you score five runs means you are competing," Post 22 manager Kelvin Torve said.
"We were down 5-2 and we had two outs and nobody on in the fifth inning. We score all of those runs. We just wouldn't give up," he said. "I was really proud the last two innings how we swung the bats."
Up until the fifth, Yankton starting pitcher Ethan Wishon had handcuffed the Post 22 hitters. His defense, however, let him down. Of the final seven runs he gave up, only three were earned.
"Their starter did a good job. He had us off balance and we really went nowhere," Torve said. " But, all of the sudden we competed and strung together a number of at-bats, and got the job done."
Hegre continued his hot bat for the day with three hits and three RBI. Alex Weaver added two hits and an RBI, while Blake Weaver and Ryan Bachman both knocked in one run.
Zach Whitesell, in relief of starter Bransen Kuehl, got the win, giving up four hits and three runs (two earned) in three innings. Tad Scherbenske pitched a perfect seventh inning for the save.
Caid Koletzky and Michael Drotzmann had two hits each for Yankton, which fell to 22-9 on the season with the losses.
"Yankton is a very good team. They swing the bats well and they pitch well," Torve said. "They played flawless defense until the fifth inning of the second game. They are a tough out, and we have our hands full with them."
The two teams will play again today at 11 a.m., with Post 22 hosting rival Post 320 Tuesday night before embarking on the big Gopher Classic that begins Thursday in Minneapolis.
"The only thing I am thinking about is the game (Sunday)," Torve said. "We take them one at at time. We have to come out and compete again tomorrow and that's what I anticipate we'll do."