Black Sox take Place Second at State Tournament by Mercer
Monday, August 5, 2013
MITCHELL -- The Pierre Post 8 Black Sox placed second Sunday in the South Dakota VFW 13-14 AA Majors tournament at Mitchell and received the tournament’s sportsmanship award.
Sioux Falls West scored four runs in the sixth inning to win the championship game over the Black Sox 9-5.
The Black Sox defeated Brookings 5-4 in the opener Friday followed by two victories on Saturday, 10-2 over Renner Post 307 and 7-6 over host Mitchell.
The three wins qualified the Black Sox for the Sunday semi-finals. They beat Brandon Valley 9-7 to advance to the championship.
The Black Sox finished the season with 26 victories and 13 losses.
“Our pitchers really stepped up in the tournament,” Black Sox head coach Mac Mercer said.
Starters Zach Rabern, Connor Gerber, Bradley Dean, Sam Edman and Camden Espeland each went at least five innings.
Edman closed out the Brookings win, Gerber threw a complete seven-inning game against Renner, and Espeland got saves against Mitchell and Brandon.
Espeland didn’t allow an earned run in his seven innings on the mound.
The Black Sox lost the availability of four pitchers because of injuries. Spencer Sarringar suffered broken bones in hand from a football workout before the tournament. Joe King fouled off a ball that broke his cheekbone and nose in the Brookings game, and Nate Zimmerman partially tore a hamstring in the Brookings game. Josh Goeden hurt his pitching hand while batting against Brandon.
The injuries to Sarringar and King also took out two of the team’s four catchers. Second baseman Michael Lusk caught the Brookings game and Cutter Gillaspie caught both games Saturday and both games Sunday.
“We were down to essentially 10 players we could rotate in the field,” Mercer said. “Everyone stepped up. We always kept fighting back.”
The coach noted the many contributions on offense by Chase Bolte with his bunting and extra-base hits. His two-RBI double in the top of the sixth inning tied the score at 5-5 in the championship game.
Mike Lusk had key hits at times throughout the tournament. Several players came through with big performances at the plate in different games, such as Josh Goeden against Renner and Zach Rabern against Mitchell.
In the championship, neither team got on the scoreboard until a two-out dropped throw with bases empty in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sioux Falls West turned that error into a five-run rally. The Black Sox came back with three runs in the top of the fifth inning and two more in the top of the sixth. West took advantage of some mistakes in the bottom of the sixth to score four times.
Only two runs were earned of the 14 runs scored in the game by the two teams.
Team members are Connor Gerber, Chase Bolte, Bradley Dean, Zach Rabern, Josh Goeden, Cutter Gillaspie, Spencer Sarringar, Mike Lusk, Sam Edman, Camden Espeland, Coleman Varty, Joe King and Nate Zimmerman.
Assisting as coaches at the tournament were volunteer Kyle Sarringar, whose Post 8 playing career ended because of injury two years ago, and 15-16s White Sox coach Jim Goodman. The White Sox and the Black Sox frequently practiced together this summer and each squad had one coach assigned.
The championship game also saw another former Post 8 Baseball player in the coaching boxes. Brandon Heckenlaible is an assistant coach for the Sioux Falls West team this summer.
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