Connect with us


Early deficit costly for Smittys in loss to Nebraska squad

Zane Backous, of the Aberdeen Smittys, connects with a pitch during a recent game against Pierre at Fossum Field. Backous hit a home run in a setback to Bennington, Neb., in a tourney at Sioux Falls on Sunday. Photo by John Davis taken 6/4/2023

SIOUX FALLS – The Aberdeen Smittys fell behind early en route to an 8-4 American Legion baseball loss to Bennington, Neb. Post 266 at the Dakota Classic on Sunday.

After two quick outs to open the game, Bennington posted four runs to put the Smittys in a hole early. However, Zane Backous opened the bottom half of the inning with a home run to right field, giving the Smittys their first run. Later in the inning, Casey Vining scored on an error, cutting the deficit in half at 4-2.

Smittys coach Brandon Kusler said it was a difficult start for the team.

“Frustrating day for us, but I thought we competed hard,” Kusler said. “Had a rough first inning, but I thought the guys responded really well.”

Bennington added another run in the top of the third, before the Smittys responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Vining tripled to score Drew Salfrank, before Phillip Zens hit an RBI single, sending Vining across the plate to trim the Bennington lead down to 5-4.

However, that is as close as the Smittys would get. Bennington added two more runs in the fourth and another run in the sixth to put the game away.

The Smittys logged just five hits, while Bennington finished with 11.

Drew Salfrank took the loss, but got stronger as the game wore on, pitching six innings.

Kusler said Salfrank settled in after the first inning, but four Smittys errors contributed to the loss.

“Unfortunately, we just made a few too many mistakes defensively, and Bennington made us pay and continued to add to their early lead,” Kusler said.

Offensively, Zens led the Smittys with two hits and one RBI, while Vining and Backous each had one hit and drove in a run. Kusler said the lack of offensive production made it difficult to climb back into the game.

“Offensively, I think we could have more competitive at bats than we’ve had the last two games,” Kusler said. “Credit to their pitcher for forcing a lot of weak contact, but we’ve shown to be a lot more offensive than we were today.”

The Smittys (15-9) return home to host Sioux Falls East in a doubleheader on Wednesday, beginning at 3 p.m. at Fossum Field.

“We just have to get back to work this week, make a few adjustments, and get ready for a good Sioux Falls East team on Wednesday,” Kusler said.

Bennington 401 201 0 – 8 11 1

Aberdeen Smittys 202 000 0 – 4 5 4

Drew Salfrank, Cooper Eisenbeisz (7) and Andrew Woehl; Nolan Japp, Ethan Roth (7) and Q. Archer. 2B – Bennington, Cooper Minarik, Caden Anderson. 3B – Aberdeen Smittys, Casey Vining. HR – Aberdeen Smittys, Zane Backous.

Purchase a Photo

Browse By Category

Browse By Month

More in Baseball

Dacotah Bank