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Smittys split pair with Mandan

Josh Steinwandt, of the Aberdeen Smittys, right, sets to catch the ball as Huron’s Bubba Peterson, left, gets back to first base on a pick-off attempt during Tuesday night’s first game at Fossum Field. Steinwandt had two hits in each of Aberdeen's games on Wednesday in a split at Mandan, N.D. He also picked up the pitching victory in the first game. Photo by John Davis taken 7/12/2022

MANDAN, N.D. – The Aberdeen Smittys controlled the first game and then had a late rally come up short in an American Legion baseball doubleheader split with Mandan on Wednesday.

The Smittys won the opener 7-3 and then nearly wiped out a nine-run deficit in a 9-7 setback in the second contest.

“A lot of positives to take away from today,” said Smittys coach Brandon Kusler. “I thought on the mound we were consistent all day.”

Aberdeen took control of the first game with three runs in the second inning and three more in the fourth.

Andrew Woehl had a two-run single and Carter Dingman also drove in a run in the second inning. Brendan Livermont drove in a run in the fourth and two other runs scored on an error.

Ethan Kjenstad led the win with three hits and Steinwandt added a pair.

Steinwandt allowed just one run in four innings in the pitching start in the first game.

“Steinwandt gave us a good start in Game one. He threw a lot of strikes and forced Mandan to put balls in play,” Kusler said. “Offensively in Game 1, I thought we were really sharp. We came through with some big hits and good situational hitting.”

It was an uphill battle in the second contest as Mandan gradually built a nine-run advantage before the Smittys roared back in with seven runs in the top of the seventh.

Aberdeen had five of its 10 hits in the uprising. Woehl and Andrew Richardson each had run-scoring hits. Three runs scored on wild pitches, another came in on a hit batter, and a groundout produced another run.

Woehl, Steinwandt and Brian Holmstrom each finished with two hits for the Smittys.

“In Game 2 our bats went cold and we didn’t do enough defensively to keep us in the game,” Kusler said. “I’m proud of the way we battled back in the seventh and made it a game. That’s definitely a positive thing we can take into this weekend.”

The Smittys, 22-19 on the season, have two key league contests on Saturday in Brookings. Aberdeen will face Brookings at 1 p.m. and Yankton at 3 p.m.

Aberdeen Smittys 030 300 1 – 7 11 4

Mandan 100 002 0 – 3 3 5

Josh Steinwandt, Nick Clemens (5) and Andrew Woehl; Binder, Tucker Horner (7) and Horner, Isaac Huettl. 2B – Aberdeen Smittys, Ethan Kjenstad; Mandan, Seth Arenz.

Aberdeen Smittys 000 000 7 – 7 10 3

Mandan 101 304 x – 9 10 1 Brian Holmstrom, Jaiden Smith (4), Andrew Woehl (5), Carter Dingman (6) and Andrew Richardson; Ben Kleinknecht, Stetson Kuntz (3), Tucker Horner (4), Schlosser (7), Seth Arenz (7) and Isaac Huettl. 2B – Aberdeen Smittys, Holmstrom; Mandan, Huettl 2. 3B – Mandan, Schlosser.

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