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Smittys fall just short of making tourney quarterfinals

Casey Vining, of the Aberdeen Smittys, left, throws to first base after making the force out on Tate Larson, of Groton Post 39, right, during a game earlier this season at Locke/Karst Field in Groton. Vining had two hits, including a double, Sunday at the Dakota Classic Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 6/6/2022

SIOUX FALLS – The Aberdeen Smittys came on one run short against Lincoln and one run also prevented the local American Legion baseball squad from advancing to the quarterfinals of the Dakota Classic Tournament on Sunday.

After falling to the Lincoln North Stars 5-4, the Smittys still had the potential of advancing in the tourney, but were unable to obtain the wild card position.

“The tie-breaker was least runs allowed. We gave up eight runs and another team had only given up seven, so we were eliminated,” said Smittys coach Brandon Kusler. “A tough one to swallow today for sure. I thought our guys played good baseball all weekend and still played well today. Unfortunately, we just didn’t do enough.”

Lincoln scored the first run of the contest before Aberdeen put up a four spot in the top of the fourth inning. Josh Steinwandt and Brock Martin each had RBI singles to highlight the frame. However, that lead was short lived when Lincoln answered with four in its half of the inning to regain the lead. The North Stars bunched half of their six hits in the fourth to key the surge.

Steinwandt and Casey Vining each had two hits for the Smittys, who actually outhit Lincoln, but still came up short.

“I thought offensively our guys had good approaches at the plate and did some good things against some pretty tough pitchers,” Kusler said. “I’m really proud of our guys and excited to get back to work this week.”

The Smittys, 16-12 on the season, were scheduled to host Mitchell, but those games have been canceled. Next up will be a doubleheader against Sioux Falls East at 3 p.m. Thursday at Fossum Field.

Aberdeen Smittys 000 400 0 – 4 7 3

Lincoln 100 400 x – 5 6 1

Casey Vining, Nick Clemens (4) and Brian Holmstrom; Lynden Bruegeman, Braedon Sunken (4) and Jones. 2B – Aberdeen Smittys, Jaiden Smith, Casey Vining.

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