With the Region 8 baseball tournament just around the corner, Shiloh Christian hoped to close out the regular season on a high note on Thursday.
The Skyhawks did just that with a doubleheader sweep of Kidder County-Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter, 7-0 and 9-2, at Dwyer Field. Both games were scheduled for five innings.
Shiloh, 22-6 overall, is on a roll heading into the postseason, having won its last four games and 17 of its last 19. The Skyhawks are the No. 2 seed behind Beulah in the region tournament, which begins Monday in Hettinger.
"It was a great way to end (the regular season). You always want to head into tournament time riding a little momentum," said Shiloh coach Aric Lee. "We made some mistakes in the field, but overall, I thought we played really well today, and it was good to see so many kids contribute. We looked like a team ready to get after it next week. We're playing good baseball and that's what you want to see this time of year."
Shiloh's pitching was stellar in the twin bill. Five pitchers combined to allow two runs (one earned) on four hits in 10 innings. Josh Lardy started the first game and threw three innings of one-hit shutout baseball before giving way to Josh Kolling, who didn't allow a hit in two innings.
In the second game, starter Jaden Mitzel allowed an unearned run and two hits in three innings. Cole Baumiller and Drew Flory finished up.
"We gave quite a few kids an opportunity to throw today to get them ready for the region tournament, and I'm happy with what I saw," Lee said. "Pitching has been our strong suit all year. We have a lot of kids we can put on the mound and we have confidence in all of them. To win a tournament, you need depth in your pitching. We believe we have that."
Shiloh's offense, meanwhile, rapped out 16 hits, with Mitzel and Canaan Fagerland combining for eight. Mitzel went 3-for-3 in the first game with a run batted in and two runs scored. Fagerland singled twice and tripled in three at-bats in the second game. He scored three times and drove in two runs.
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Fagerland and Mitzel contributed to Shiloh's three-run bottom-of-the-first in the opener. They singled back-to-back with one out, and one batter later, Lardy walked to load the bases. A passed ball brought in Fagerland with the first run, and another plated Mitzel with the second. Lardy later scored on Noah Welch's two-out single.
Fagerland walked and Mitzel singled to lead off the third, and both came in to score on Flory's one-out double.
In the fourth, back-to-back RBI singles by Mitzel and Lardy increased Shiloh's lead to 7-0.
Both teams plated an unearned run in the first inning of the second game, but the Skyhawks took command in the third and fourth. Fagerland singled with one out in the third and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw to first. He later scored on Mitzel's sacrifice fly to right.
Lardy then reached on an error, took second on a passed ball, and scored on Josh Slaubaugh's bloop single to right.
The first seven Shiloh batters reached safely in a six-run fourth. After the Skyhawks loaded the bases without the benefit of a hit, Shea Huntington drove in a pair of runs with a single, and Fagerland followed with a two-run triple. Mitzel's run-scoring single and Lardy's RBI double closed Shiloh's scoring.
The Wolves got an RBI double from Ty Biesterfeld in the fifth.