Jul. 14—MITCHELL — As was the case in the spring high school season, Mitchell Post 18 has set itself up for a top seed with a week to go before the American Legion baseball postseason.
With a record of 22-11 overall and 14-4 against South Dakota competition, Mitchell ranks third overall in the Class A Legion standings.
Unlike the playoff structure used for the spring high school season which has the top four overall seeds host a four-team pod with four state tournament qualifiers, the American Legion playoffs take on a more familiar format. The Legion playoffs feature the top seven seeds as hosts of best-of-three series against a single opponent, with the seven winners and the tournament host comprising the eight-team state tournament bracket.
With nearly 2.5 seed points separating Mitchell (42.722) from ninth-place Yankton (40.353), Post 18 has already all but locked up a home series beginning Friday, July 22. Further strengthening Mitchell's position, the No. 2 team in the standings is the state tournament host and automatic qualifier, Rapid City Post 22, meaning Post 18 is positioned to be the second-highest seed in the first round.
That leaves final seed position and opponent as the only matters yet to be settled, and both will be finalized over the final days of the regular season, which lasts until Monday, July 18.
Mitchell Post 18 has five games remaining in its regular season schedule, four of which are to be played at home. Fourth-place Brookings visits Mitchell for a doubleheader on Thursday before Post 18 welcomes No. 13 Huron for two more games on Friday. Mitchell's final outing before the postseason comes Monday at No. 11 Sioux Falls West.
As it stands on July 13, Mitchell would have the right to host No. 14 seed Aberdeen Post 24, which owns a record of 7-14 and sits less than one-tenth of a seed point above No. 15 Spearfish.
When Mitchell and Aberdeen met for a June 10 doubleheader at Cadwell Park, Post 18 ran away with a pair of victories behind a combined score of 15-3.
Elsewhere, Brandon Valley (10-3, 43.538 seed points) controls the top spot in the rankings, with Rapid City Post 22 (16-2, 43.111) and Mitchell within a half point. Rounding out the seven teams in position for first-round hosting privileges are Brookings (12-7, 42.000), Sioux Falls East (15-7, 41.591), Harrisburg (6-5, 41.182), Rapid City Post 320 (12-5, 40.765) and Renner (12-10, 40.500).
Aberdeen (7-14, 37.381) and Spearfish (5-19, 37.292) currently hold an edge over 16th-place Sturgis (2-12, 36.714), which would be the lone Class A team left out of the postseason field.
In the Junior Legion ranks, Mitchell sits in 12th place with an 11-11 record. No. 11 Sioux Falls West is the host of the Junior Legion tournament, meaning Post 18 is currently in line to play at Rapid City Post 22 Bullets in the first round.
The final week is poised to shake up the standings, as seven of the eight teams occupying spots No. 5 through No. 12 are within three games of .500, with four of those owning matching numbers of wins and losses, including Mitchell.
Post 18 Junior Legion has two contests at Huron on Saturday and one at Sioux Falls West on Monday remaining before its postseason starts on Thursday, July 21.
First-round Legion playoff pairings (through July 12 games)
No. 15 Spearfish at No. 1 Brandon Valley
No. 14 Aberdeen at No. 3 Mitchell
No. 13 Huron at No. 4 Brookings
No. 12 Watertown at No. 5 Sioux Falls East
No. 11 Sioux Falls West at No. 6 Harrisburg
No. 10 Pierre at No. 7 Rapid City Post 320
No. 9 Yankton at No. 8 Renner
*No. 2 Rapid City Post 22 (host) automatically qualifies
*No. 16 Sturgis eliminated
First-round Junior Legion playoff pairings (through July 12 games)
No. 15 Rapid City Post 320 at No. 1 Sioux Falls East
No. 14 Sturgis at No. 2 Watertown
No. 13 Yankton at No. 3 Rapid City Post 22 Expos
No. 12 Mitchell at No. 4 Rapid City Post 22 Bullets
No. 10 Brookings at No. 5 Harrisburg Gold
No. 9 Brandon Valley at No. 6 Renner
No. 8 Harrisburg Maroon at No. 7 Aberdeen
*No. 11 Sioux Falls West (host) automatically qualifies
*No. 16 Pierre eliminated