By Marj Oleske
After falling to Lead-Deadwood in their first game of the South Dakota American Legion Region 7B Baseball Tournament by a score of 11-1, the Post 240 boys brushed the dirt off their uniforms and set their minds on fighting back to the championship game. In grand style the Martin and Kyle combined team accomplished their goal of meeting Spearfish Post 164 in the final bracket.
Post 240’s first game on Thursday, July 14, saw Jerome Gangone on the mound for launching the first attack against Lead/Deadwood Post 31. The team had trouble getting a score on the board, and with Chuck Bakley taking over pitching late in the game, the boys brought in just one run compared to Lead/Deadwood’s 11.
This loss put the boys in the loser’s bracket, requiring them to win each game in order to continue playing.
The boys accepted the challenge with determination, by defeating a young Kadoka Post 27 team by a score of 14-0 on Thursday evening. Adam Hahn led the team with good pitching, as Post 240’s bats came to life to move the boys one game further in the tourney.
Friday’s first game against Mission Post 287 seemed like a warmup game, as the boys cruised to a 10-0 win, with Will Risse leading the way on the mound. This momentum carried the boys into the game which the boys had on their mind since losing to Lead/Deadwood on Thursday.
With powerful determination Post 240’s players remained strong with the bats and in the fielding as they kept the score close against Lead/Deadwood in their second matchup for the tournament. Post 240 trailed by one point, 3-2, through the seventh inning. Will Risse started on the bump allowing two runs with Jerome Gangone in relief in the second inning, allowing only one run in the rest of the game.
A score from Brendan Kamerzell to start the eighth inning put the teams even at 3-3. A strong hit by Jared Harris earned him a double, and more importantly, brought two runs by Will Risse and Chuck Bakley across the plate to put Post 240 ahead by two runs. The momentum swung in their favor, and the boys never looked back. Jerome Gangone and Harris also scored to put the team ahead by four runs. A strong defensive effort kept Lead/Deadwood from scoring again, and with an eruption of cheers from the crowd, Post 240 clinched their spot in the Championship game.
Saturday’s warmup for the Championship was interrupted by a tornado warning which cleared the field and stadium. The storm blew past with just a touch of rain, and the game began with only a short delay. Post 240 had a great showing of fans who made the trip to the games throughout the tournament.
Chuck Bakley led the defensive march against Spearfish Post 164, with a strong effort from the fielders, allowing only one run in the first, second, fifth and sixth innings. Jerome Gangone took over in relief pitching, while the fielders gave their best effort to end the game strong. Despite a hard-fought effort in both offensive and defensive play, the Spearfish team led in the ninth inning for a final score of 10-0.
The team was coached by Frank Gangone, with assistance from Mike Harris, and Anthony Waters. Post 240 players will turn their uniforms in for the season knowing they gave their best effort for a highly successful year.