Mitchell once scored 34 points in a game at the Legion State Baseball Tournament – Mitchell Republic
RAPID CITY – The game was so out of control that the referees started calling phantom outs.
On August 1, 2009, at the State Legion Baseball Tournament, Mitchell apparently couldn’t win against Rapid City Post 320. Shot after shot, the scoreboard at Rapid City’s Fitzgerald Stadium went lit like a winning slot machine.
In what is believed to be a state tournament record for runs scored by a team in a single game, Mitchell — with his senior team similar to this year’s — defeated Post 320 in seven innings, 34-5.
“Normally when you get a big lead it’s like the guys kinda shut it down when they’re like we won the game,” Mitchell’s baseball coach Luke Norden said Monday night. remembering the memory after locating the former of the team. 2009 paper-and-pencil logbook. “But our guys kept going up to bat like we needed a big hit.”
This year’s state tournament kicks off on Wednesday, with Mitchell playing his first-round match at 1:30 p.m. central time, facing the same team in the same venue as the wacky game nearly 13 years ago.
The 34-5 victory was played on a Saturday night after Fitzgerald Stadium was packed with around 3,500 spectators. Mitchell was fighting elimination after losing to Rapid City Post 22 earlier in the tournament.
On Friday night, Mitchell eliminated Brookings, and the final game was the two Rapid City teams – Post 22 against Post 320. That night still remains the only time Post 320 defeated Post 22 – the draw for 50 tickets /50 was somewhere around $3,000.
Post 320 was guaranteed a spot in Sunday’s championship game after beating Post 22, so “they were on a really high note from the night before,” Norden said. “It had a bit to do with the lack of concentration in the game.”
Leading off batter Cade Hearnen opened the Mitchell-320 game Saturday night with a single. A sacrificial bunt and brace led Mitchell to start his run streak, sending 12 men home in the first inning for a 7-0 lead.
It was extended 10-0 after 2 1/2 innings before Post 320 scored two in the bottom of the third.
Five points in the fourth and eight points in the fifth opened the game for Mitchell.
“Tonight is definitely up there,” said Brett Young, who later played baseball at South Dakota State University. He pitched six innings that game with six strikeouts on 106 pitches. At plate, he had four hits — including a grand slam in the fifth inning — with nine RBIs. “Any time you play in the state tournament, it’s a highlight. But to have a game like that was just awesome.
At the end of the match, the referees had had enough. Legion games in 2009 were nine-inning contests, so the run rule was not in effect until after seven innings. Mitchell’s Joe Schlimgen was on the field as the third base umpire.
“What I remember the most about that game was that we had to call out some outs that weren’t to get us out of there,” said Schlimgen, who has 47 years of experience as a baseball umpire. “Everything Mitchell hit found a hole. God, I just remember it was a long night.
A Mitchell runner was picked on first base while standing on the sack, Norden recalled. Two other runners were called for “missing bases”.
Young remembers the mysterious exits.
“Who knows what the score would have really been?” he said.
Still, Mitchell hit 14 men and scored 11 runs in the sixth inning.
Kyle Larson led the team with five singles, Alex Loes and Young each had four hits and Sean DeVries had three including a triple for 16 of Mitchell’s 24 hits. The next day, offensive production ran out and Mitchell was taken out by the eventual champion Post 22.
The group is special for Norden, like this year, because it was loaded with experience. It’s not very often, he said, that Mitchell gets a big senior class.
“You go back and look at this team (2009), we had six or seven seniors that year. It was great class for us to have so many guys, and we have 10 seniors this year,” he said. “I think the biggest resemblance is getting a bigger class of kids through, that’s really something. And this year, it’s the biggest class we’ve had.
The 2009 team finished its season with a 31-22 record. Mitchell opens the game at the state this year 25-13.