Kyle Mueller would have been proud.
His former team — which includes his younger brother, Peyton — captured the championship trophy that bears the name of the Yankton High School graduate who was killed in a January traffic accident.
Peyton was the first Yankton Post 12 player to hoist the trophy after a 6-2 victory over Dell Rapids in Sunday afternoon’s title game of the Kyle Mueller Memorial First Dakota Classic American Legion baseball tournament at Riverside Field at Bob Tereshinski Stadium.
“We did this for Peyton,” said Sam Mooney, who was the winning pitcher in Sunday’s final.
“We wanted to win this for him.”
According to tournament director Andy Bernatow, approximately $2,500 was raised for the Mueller family over the course of the weekend.
There were festivities on Friday evening (when Peyton was the winning pitcher), and through all of the emotion involved, Post 12 out-scored its opponents 37-10 over its four games.
“They were unbelievable with the way they handled everything,” head coach Drew Lawrence said.
“Honestly, that’s as focused as we’ve ever been, and that’s saying a lot considering all the emotions this weekend.”
That level of focus was evident right away in Sunday’s championship game.
Yankton scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning and then watched its defense back up Mooney —he allowed nine hits, but Yankton’s defense also threw runners out at third base and home plate.
“I just wanted to throw strikes and let the defense do its thing,” Mooney said.
“I haven’t thrown a complete game in a while, though,” he added, with a smile.
In total, Mooney’s 96 pitches featured 67 strikes.
Ethan Wishon, Rex Ryken and Caid Koletzky all singled twice in the win, while Mooney tacked on a two-run triple. Michael Drotzmann doubled, and Matthew Mors and Collin Zahrbock both singled.
“We got a lead early, which is huge for us,” Lawrence said. “We haven’t always been the greatest at keeping things rolling, but we kept at it today.”
The championship also gives Yankton momentum for a big week, according to Lawrence.
Post 12 will face Sioux Falls West on Tuesday and will then play in the Lewis & Clark Classic next weekend at Bob Tereshinski Stadium.
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