The Region 3A American Legion baseball tournament begins tomorrow in Pierre as the hometown team hosts Rapid City Post 22, Post 320 and Sturgis Post 33 as they vie for a state tournament berth in Mitchell. Mitchell is the fifth Region 3A team but receives an automatic bid as the state tournament host.
Rapid City Post 22 enters the tournament at Hyde Stadium with a 41-13 record and will play a familiar foe in Sturgis Post 33. The Titans enter the tournament with a 20-11 record that includes a win over the top-seeded Hardhats. 22 head coach Kelvin Torve said any of the four teams in Pierre could come out with one of the two state tournament berths.
Torve said, "Pierre's got a couple of good arms, Sturgis has beat us once, and 320 is always dangerous, they've got a couple of guys that played in college this spring so you can't take anybody lightly. It doesn't matter how the regular season went against any team, you've just got to come out and play hard and hopefully have your A game that day and count them up at the end of the day."
Torve said that while there were a couple of turning points during the season, the loss to Sturgis was one that helped his squad refocus and realize that there was plenty of work left to be done.
Torve said, "You hate to lose, you know any game you hate to lose, and we played horribly that day. But I'd like to think we learned something. There are days you play well and days you learn well and we played horribly that day so I hope we learned something. And from that day, I can't say that was the turning point in our season, there have been two or three games where we played badly and had discussions after the games, but that was one of the building blocks that's made us a better team."
So the bracket of the double elimination tournament looks like this ... Post 22 and Sturgis meet in the first game tomorrow at 4 o'clock CENTRAL TIME ... with Pierre and 320 squaring off at approximately 7. The top two finishers in the region advance to the state tournament will be held at Cadwell Park in Mitchell beginning on July 27th.