The Brandon Valley Jr. Legion Post 131 squad won its second straight tournament yesterday defeating Sioux Falls West 7-3 in the championship game held at Harmodon Park in Sioux Falls. Led by quality pitching performances by sophomores Christian Graber and Taylor Thompson, the Jr. Legion team used timely hitting and excellent defensive play to beat SF West in the championship. Graber earned the win on the bump, throwing 4.1 innings while giving up only two earned runs. Thompson, who came in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out, slammed the door on West, earning the 2.2 inning save while allowing only one earned run to a very potent West lineup. Thompson struck out three. Cole Christensen led the offense, going 2-3 with a walk, double, and 2 RBI. Tyler Hintz and Payton Livingston also contributed with two hits apiece.
In the semi-final earlier on Sunday, Christensen threw a five inning one-hitter as Brandon Valley routed Sioux Falls East 8-0. Christensen allowed only three runners to reach base while striking out five. Leadoff batter Cal Kedik paced the offense, going 3-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and three runs scored. Hintz and Logan Hanzel had two hits.
On Friday, Jr. Legion Post 131 defeated Sioux Falls West 15/16’s by a 9-7 score. Starting pitcher Kyle Bailey threw 5 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits while striking out five. Thompson earned the save, stranding the tying run on second base while striking out two of the four batters he faced. Hanzel led the offense with three hits. Graber had a pair of hits, including a double.
On Saturday, Post 131 defeated two Nebraska teams by the 8-run rule. In game 1, Brandon Valley defeated Lincoln, Nebraska 10-2 behind a quality pitching performance from Ethan Horner. Horner gave up three hits in five innings of work, striking out seven. Dylan Bludorn, Bailey, and Horner each contributed two hits and two RBI. In game 2, Post 131 beat Omaha Skutt 11-3. Kedik, who came in relief in the first inning, earned the win, allowing no runs in five full innings of work. Kedik struck out three. Offensively, Thompson (3-4, double, 2 RBI, 1 run scored), Hintz (3-3, RBI, 1 run scored), and Graber (0-1, 3 runs scored) led the way. Jacob Nachreiner and Bailey reached base safely three times as well.
Last week the Jr. Legion team was named co-champions of the Brookings Wood Bat Tournament, going 4-0 in pool play before getting rained out on Sunday for the championship game. Brandon Valley Post 131 was named co-champions with the Sioux Falls Titans, the team they would have met in the Sunday final.
Post 131 is also tied atop the Southeast region standings with a 3-1 record. SF West, SF East, and Yankton are the other teams in the region. The top two in each of the three regions in South Dakota automatically advance to the State Tournament held in Aberdeen in late July.
Brandon Valley continues play with region games on Tuesday at SF East (5/7pm, Harmodon Park) and on Wednesday at Yankton (5:30/7:30pm, Riverside Field). The Jr. Legion will then seek a third straight tournament championship this weekend when they travel to Rochester, Minnesota for the Rochester Rundown Tournament.