For the second time in three seasons, the Blair Post 154 Senior Legion baseball team dominated Lewis & Clark Classic play, claiming the tournament championship.
The Bears went 6-0 in two states Friday, Saturday and Sunday, earning the title with a 9-5 win against Sioux Falls (S.D.) Post 15 West in Yankton, S.D.
“We just hit, hustled and played,” Blair manager James Bilslend said. “We just kind of pieced everything together when we needed to.”
Max Nickerson earned the pitching victory against Sioux Falls West, allowing just three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. His offense, meanwhile, scored six runs during the second inning to claim control of the game.
AJ Bilslend finished with three RBIs and a homer, while Jack Nielsen and Colin Quick added two RBIs each. Auggie Rasmussen tripled and double twice, finishing with his own RBI.
Coach Bilslend said the Bears “rolled in all parts of the game” in what was a “family effort.”
Blair — the Hartington pool play champion — topped a familiar foe — Platteview — which won the Yankton pool — to reach the final for the third time in three years. The Bears went ahead 5-3 during the third inning and wound up with a 10-3 victory.
Pitcher Jason Stewart tossed a complete-game against the Trojans, while Jack Nielsen had a team-best three RBIs. AJ Bilslend and Rasmussen, meanwhile, had two RBIS each. Jacob Rodriguez, Nickerson and Aidan Mohr had one apiece.
Blair goes 4-0 in pool play
Post 154 started Lewis & Clark play with a 21-run victory against Huron, S.D., 25-4. The Bears scored 13 second-inning runs, finishing the game in 3 1/2 frames Friday night.
Ben Aguilera led Blair with three RBIs, while Bilslend, Rasmussen and Quick pushed across two runs apiece. Quick had a homer, while Rasmussen, Bilslend and Quincy Nichols had triples.
Pitchers Nielsen and Nichols combined for five strikeouts, while Huron had eight walks and 10 defensive errors.
Next, the Bears beat the Hartington Seniors 9-2. Rasmussen had three RBIs, while Quick had two. Nielsen, Caddon Keatts and Aguilera also added extra-base hits for pitcher Matt Dreher, who struck out 13 batters in 5 1/3 innings.
Rasmussen continued his hot streak at the plate Saturday afternoon against Brandon Valley, S.D. He notched two RBIs as the Bears won 6-1. Quick had six strikeouts on the mound, while Nickerson had a team-best two hits.
Blair then pushed its way into the Classic semifinals with a 7-0 win against West Central, S.D., that evening. Treyton Jones pitched the shutout with four strikeouts, while Bilslend (2), Jason Stewart (1) and Aguilera (1) combined for four RBIs.
Post 154 Bears rout Seward
The Blair Seniors tallied 13 hits in just five innings Wednesday as they routed Seward 13-4.
The road win pushed the Bears' record to 6-2 before it entered its first contest of the Lewis & Clark Classic.
Rasmussen had a standout power performance in the road contest, delivering two doubles and a homer against the Jays. He had two RBIs, while Quick added a team-high four and Nickerson had one. Quick, Bilslend and Keatts also notched doubles.
Blair's Dreher and Jones combined to pitch five innings, striking out four Seward batters in the win.