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When the state tournament came to Hyde Stadium for the third time in six years and the second time in three years in 1999, there was a new kid on the American Legion baseball block.

Rapid City Post 320 came for the first time along with Post 22, Brookings, Aberdeen, Mitchell, Yankton, state "B" champion Scotland and host Pierre. Conspicuous by their absence were the Sioux Falls teams.

Post 320 didn't stay around along, and unfortunately for the attendance, neither did the host team. Both were gone by the middle of the second day.

Opening day was consistent in its blowouts. Brookings ripped Scotland, 11-1; Post 22 shut out Aberdeen, 8-0; Yankton took care of Post 320, 11-5, and Mitchell ripped Pierre, 13-3, as starter Seth Myers and reliever Josh DeJong held Post 8 to only three hits in the six-inning game--- a single by Justin Sarvis, an RBI double by Greg Goodman, and a single by Derek Hunsley.

Scotland and Aberdeen stayed alive by ousting Post 320 and Pierre, respectively, on Thursday. Yankton edged Brookings, 8-4, to remain the surprise of the tournament.

Though rained out till Friday morning, Post 22 had its second straight shutout, 6-0 over Mitchell. Aberdeen sent Brookings home, 5-3, and Mitchell spoiled Scotland's dreams, 6-2, so half of the "final four" was settled. That left for the end of the third day the game between the two remaining unbeaten teams, Post 22 and Yankton.

What would happen to mighty Post 22 two days later could be traced back to this Friday night game, one in which the Rapid City team, in coach Dave Ploof's own words, "didn't play Post 22 baseball." They certainly did set themselves up for later disappointment.

Five Post 22 errors led to five unearned Yankton runs. Yankton had seen Post 22 go ahead in the top of the ninth when Nic Ewing's hard drive was lost in the lights and dropped. But down to its last out, Yankton tied the game 6-6 with Eric Bailey's two-out single up the middle.

Then in the 10th, off Ploof's reliever, Brad Hunt, who had shut out Mitchell on three hits over nine innings about 10 hours earlier, Yankton put the winning on base on Tom Gause's sharp double. A Ben Thomas error on a ground ball moved Gause to third. Clay Stoddard made 'em pay with a game-winning hit over the left side of the infield.

Post 22 recovered to bomb Aberdeen, 9-2, on Saturday, and Mitchell, in an ugly five-inning game, gave Yankton its first loss, 12-2. In the third inning, nine straight Mitchell batters reached base on three errors, five hits and a sacrifice, and all nine scored.

So three teams remained alive. Having lost its first game most recently, Yankton got the Sunday bye. Post 22 would have to win twice. But Mitchell's Myers, after three days' rest, pitched the game of his life, allowing only two Rapid City hits and none over the last five innings.

Post 22 led 2-0 in the first, but Mitchell had tied it at 2-2 after two innings and got the two winning runs in the sixth on three singles and an error. Myers cut down Post 22's last seven batters in succession and 13 of their last 14 in winning 4-2.

The tournament had seen its final spine-tingler. The championship game at night saw Mitchell relentlessly pound Yankton, scoring in six of the seven innings of a 14-1 victory to qualify for the Central Plains Regional at Dickinson, N.D.

It was the first state title for Mitchell since 1951 and only the third in history.