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Titan pitcher Gage Murphey warms up prior to the Post 33 home finale against Rapid City Post 22.
Photo by Tim Potts
Titan pitcher Gage Murphey warms up prior to the Post 33 home finale against Rapid City Post 22.

Titan Pitching Woes Propel Hardhats to Win at Strong Field


Terry Anderson, KBHB Sports - July 13, 2020

STURGIS, S.D. – A game that looked to be a pitcher’s duel early turned into a blowout on Monday night at Strong Field, as Rapid City Post 22 scored 11 runs in the fifth inning to beat Sturgis Post 33 in a five inning affair, 16-1.

The final home game of the 2020 American Legion season featured a moment of silence after the third inning for former Post 33 catcher and pitcher Josh Weisz, who died on Friday at Orman Dam near Belle Fourche.  Weisz was the only Titan player to wear #33 in the early 2000’s and his jersey was hung on the fence near the Post 33 dugout during the game to honor the former standout.

Titan starting pitcher Gage Murphey came out of the gate with excellent velocity and location, striking out two in the top of the first and holding the Hardhats scoreless.  Post 22 right hander Dylan Richey also started strong, striking out one and forcing two Post 33 batters to fly out in the bottom of the first.

The game was scoreless headed into the top of the third when Murphey walked Post 22 left fielder Hunter Tillery.  The next batter, Dalton Klosterman, laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line and Titan infielder Dylan Gillespie misplayed the ball, then threw over first baseman John Fischer’s glove allowing Tillery to score from first.  Leadoff hitter Bransen Kuehl then stepped to the plate and hit two-run blast over the centerfield fence to put the Hardhats up 3-0.

Richey continued his pitching dominance, striking out two Titans in the bottom of the third and two in the bottom of the fourth.  Post 22 added two runs in the top of the fourth and led 5-0 after four innings.

The pitching struggles began for Post 33 in the top of the fifth.  Murphey hit the first two batters then Richey singled to load the bases.  Murphey struggled to find the strike zone and walked in two runs in a row before being replaced by young Titan right hander Kain Peters.  Peters lasted only four batters, walking in two runs and bringing in another run by hitting Tillery with a pitch.  Titan head coach Dominic Bradford brought Colton Cruickshank into the ball game to replace Peters and Post 22 plated three more runs on a double by Ryan Bachman, a single by Richey and a sacrifice fly by Matt Hegre.  The Hardhats had 16 batters make plate appearances in the inning, with 11 runs crossing home plate. 

The Titans finally got a little offense going in the bottom of the fifth, with Dylan Ashley getting his first hit of the season for Post 33, a single between first and second base.  Ashley advanced to second on a Post 22 error.  Catcher Zach Hess cracked another single, scoring Ashley from second base.  The Titans couldn’t muster any more offense as Richey struck out Owen Cass and forced R.J. Andrzejewski to fly out to right field.  The game was called after the fifth inning due to the mercy rule and Post 22 collected a 16-1 win.

Richey overwhelmed the Titans with his speed and accuracy on the mound, throwing 76 pitches through five innings, striking out nine with no walks, giving up only two hits.  Murphey took the pitching loss for Post 33.

Richey also had a good night at the plate, going 3-4 with three singles and one RBI.  Kuehl was 1-3 with a two-run HR.  Post 22 had 8 hits and left four on base. 

Ashley and Hess had the only two hits for Sturgis Post 33.  The Titans left one on base.  Ashley was named the "Sturgis Subs Player of the Game", earning a 6-inch sub sandwich.  Hess was awarded the "Hard Luck Player of the Game" for his efforts.  Hess will enjoy some ice cream, courtesy of Kwik Mart Sturgis Subs.

Post 33, now 18-9 on the season, faces the Rapid City Post 320 Stars on Wednesday, July 22 at 7pm at Pete Lien Field in Rapid City.



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