Hardhats, Stars Set for State Legion Tournament
A State American Legion baseball title for most teams is a remarkable achievement.
But for Post 22, their expectations set by themselves and their fans has come to make it just a little more than an average occurrence.
Post 22 squares off against Aberdeen on Wednesday at noon in the opening round of the American Legion Class 'A' State Tournament in Brookings.
The state defending champions are looking to win their 40th state title since 1961.
The Hardhats did not play Aberdeen during the regular season, but they're still 9-0 against the rest of the teams in the tournament.
Post 22 head coach Mitch Messer says, “It starts with pitching and defense. If we defend like we did last week and if we pitch like we have been, we have a good shot. It's no secret. Every year in the state tournament, you have to pitch and you have to defend.”
Meanwhile, Rapid City Post 320 opens the state tournament Wednesday at 9 a.m. against Sioux Falls West.
The two teams met once during the regular season with Sioux Falls winning 2-0.
The Stars enter the state tournament with 24-30 record after finishing runner-up to Post 22 in the Region 3A Tournament.
The Stars recently welcomed back Cullen Gilbertson, who was out for most of the season with a wrist injury.
Post 320 head coach Paul Pool says, “Being like a 3 or 4 hole hitter type guy, just taking him out of the lineup really hurt us. But getting him back right here at the end, not only because of his ability to play, but he's also a leader that the kids respect him. They know he's a good player.”