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Glenn Pursley, Published August 09 2013

Post 2 eliminated from Central Plains Regional

FARGO – Rapid City set the pace early Friday at Jack Williams Stadium and never looked back.

Matt Minnick hit a three-run home run in the first inning to lead Rapid City to a 9-2 win over Fargo Post 2 in an elimination game at the American Legion Central Plains Regional baseball tournament at Jack Williams Stadium.

“By the looks of it, our guys were swinging like they have been all year,” Rapid City head coach Mitch Messer said. “(Thursday) our bats were sluggish, and we didn’t have any big hits.”

Facing a full count with two outs, Minnick turned on the 22nd pitch of the game from Post 2 starter Casey Quinlan and sent it into the Red River just beyond the left-field fence.

“We’ve had big hits all year, so when I saw that, my first thought was, ‘we’re back,’ ” Messer said.

Rapid City (57-14-1) scored two unearned runs off of a wild pitch and a balk in the fifth inning, and Ryne Lees added an RBI triple in the seventh for a six-run lead.

“I think if anything it was good for our guys to know that we are at full strength,” Messer said. “They played with confidence today, and at this point in the tournament, you’ve got to find ways to win.”

Post 2 (41-19) stranded 10 runners on base. Fargo left the bases loaded in the fifth.

“It takes someone to step up and get a hit when the bases are loaded, and we weren’t able to do that today,” Post 2 head coach Luke Rustad said. “We just didn’t seem locked in sometimes. I think when you’re not coming up big, you let it affect your psyche a little bit.”

The one big hit for Post 2 came from Lincoln Voss in the fifth inning. His RBI single scored Ryan Smith to cut the deficit to 4-1. Gunnar Linstaedt scored Post 2’s second run – an unearned run – off a throwing error when the ball rolled into the dugout. Linstaedt made it to third on the hit and was awarded the extra base for the dead ball.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t play better, like I know we are capable of doing,” Rustad said. “On the defensive side of things, we weren’t sharp, and when you don’t do that in a tournament like this, it shows up. It showed up today, and we’re going home early.”

RC 400 021 101–9 7 2

F 010 010 000–2 10 4

Carlson and Merriam. Quinlan, Howlett (5), Linstaedt (6) and Hallock, Penney (8). W–Carlson. L–Quinlan. HR–RC, Sullivan.

Forum reporter Glenn Pursley can be reached at (701) 241-5549