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Titan third baseman Dylan Gillespie scoops up a grounder and completes the throw to first base.  Gillespie's stellar defense helped Post 33 defeat Spearfish Post 164 by a score of 16-6.
Photo by Tim Potts
Titan third baseman Dylan Gillespie scoops up a grounder and completes the throw to first base. Gillespie's stellar defense helped Post 33 defeat Spearfish Post 164 by a score of 16-6.

Sturgis Post 33 Surges Late to Beat Spearfish Post 164


Terry Anderson, KBHB Sports - June 23, 2020

STURGIS, S.D. -- The Sturgis Post 33 Titans are a notoriously slow starting team but got out of the gate quickly on Tuesday night, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first inning on their way to a 16-6 win over Spearfish Post 164 in six innings.

It was “Senior Night” at Strong Field.  Parents and fans honored seniors Zack Hess, Colton Cruickshank, Gage Murphey, John Fischer and Dylan Gillespie with photos and mementos of their time playing Titan baseball.  Each player was given a photo montage, courtesy of Scoooper Hall of Fame photographer Tim Potts. 

The 2020 Sturgis Post 33 Titans are averaging .380 as a team at the plate this season and have scored 256 runs, averaging 12 runs per game.  That historic offensive output continued against Spearfish.

Sturgis starting pitcher Dylan Ashley shut down Post 164 in the top of the first inning, with the Spartans going three up and three down.  The Titan bats got hot early, with singles by Ridge Inhofer, David Anderson, Colton Cruickshank and Gage Murphy in the first inning.  Eleven Sturgis batters made plate appearances in the inning.  Spearfish pitcher Brock Pentheny gave up five hits, walked two and hit two batters with pitches in the inning.  Titan catcher Zack Hess cleared the bases late in the inning with a 3-run triple to give Post 33 a 7-0 lead after one.

The quick start was a new feeling for Titan head coach Dominic Bradford.

“It was nice to get out to that early lead,” he said.  “But then I think the guys relaxed a little and let down their guard.”

Spearfish took advantage of a comfortable Titan squad by closing the scoring gap in the top of the second.  Ashley walked two batters and then left the mound after 1 1/3 innings and was replaced by lefty David Anderson.  Anderson walked three batters on 12 pitches, walking in two runs in the process.  John Fischer took over for Anderson and Post 164 leadoff hitter Lucas Mehmen welcomed Fischer to the game by crushing a two-run double to cut the Sturgis lead to 7-4.  A Titan double play ended the inning.

“We let Spearfish back into the game,” Bradford said.  “I told the boys to crank up the intensity and to shut them down but (Spearfish) kept battling.”

The Titans added two more runs in the bottom of the second behind aggressive base running by Anderson and an RBI by Dylan Gillespie to extend their lead to 9-4. 

Colton Cruickshank took over pitching duties for Fischer in the top of the third and found his spots early, striking out three Spartans in the fourth inning.  Murphey crossed the plate for the Titans in the bottom of the fourth to give Sturgis a 10-4 lead.  Spearfish pitcher Pentheny left the game in the fourth inning and was replaced by Conner Comer. Both teams were scoreless in the fifth but Spearfish had some fight left in them late in the game.

Cruickshank walked two Spartans to lead off the sixth to put runners on first and second.  Cruickshank struck out Noah Mollman and then leadoff hitter Mehmen went to work, stroking a single to load the bases.  The next batter, Ty Seiber, hit a two-run single but Mehmen was thrown out at second.  Cruickshank ended the damage by striking out Pentheny and Spearfish cut the Titan lead to 10-6. 

The Sturgis Post 33 bats had been relatively quiet headed into the top of the sixth with just eight hits.  The Titans took their coaches advice and turned up the intensity, exploding for six runs on six hits to close out game by the 10-run mercy rule in the sixth inning, 16-6. Murphey brought home the winning run on an RBI single, scoring "Tank" Fischer. 

Sturgis finished the game with 14 hits and 11 left on base.  Dylan Ashley got the pitching win for the Titans and Colton Cruickshank secured the save.  Cruickshank finished the game with six strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings and just three Spearfish hits on 43 pitches.

Post 164 ended the game with four hits and six left on base.  Brock Pentheny took the loss for Spearfish on 107 pitches through 3 2/3 innings.  Pentheny struck out three, walked nine and gave up eight hits.

Gage Murphey was the “Sturgis Subs Player of the Game”, going 4-5 at the plate with four singles, two RBIs and scoring two runs.  Cruickshank finished the game 3-5 at the plate with two singles, a double and two RBIs.  Lucas Mehmen had three of the four Spearfish hits, going 3-4 at the plate with two singles, a double and two RBIs.

Post 33, 17-4 on the season, faces Harrisburg in a doubleheader at Strong Field on Thursday.  First pitch is scheduled for 5pm.



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