It’s time for amateur baseball.
In what will be a season marked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, action in the South Central League will officially begin Sunday. Many teams have already played non-league games.
There are 10 teams in the league this summer, with the addition of the new Class A Yankton Lakers. They will be joined in the Class A ranks by the Yankton Tappers, while Crofton (Nebraska), Freeman, Irene, Lesterville, Menno, Scotland, Tabor and Wynot (Nebraska) are all Class B members.
The District 6B Tournament is set for July 23-Aug. 1 in Menno, while the South Dakota State Class B Tournament will be held Aug. 5-16 at Mitchell’s Cadwell Park. The two Yankton teams will compete in a separate Class A postseason format.
Here is a look at all 10 teams in the South Central League, beginning with the two Yankton squads and then everyone else in alphabetical order.
For the first time more than a decade, Yankton will field two amateur baseball teams this summer.
The Lakers, managed by Mark Ryken, will feature mostly former Yankton High School athletes, as well as a few others.
Joining the new team are Miles Carda, Cole Sawatzke, Jordan Kathol, Kieren Luellman, Owen Feser, Michael Frick, Levi Wiersma, Sam Mooney, Collin Zahrbock, Rex Ryken, Peyton Mueller and Nate Hein.
Also on the team are Drew Lawrence (the head coach of Yankton’s high school club team and American Legion squad) and Yankton native Mark Vig (an assistant coach at Metro State University in Colorado). The roster also includes former Harrisburg standouts Jett Olszewski and Jacob Just, as well as Duane Tolsma.
Following a historic 2019 season, the Tappers are looking for a repeat run this summer. Yankton, 20-3 a year ago, will return many of the same faces for manager Nik Davis’ squad.
Returning to the roster are Alex Mueller, Beau Lofink, Cooper Davis, Derrik Nelson, Devin Gullikson, Mitch Gullikson, Jordan Murray, Josh Teichroew, Kory Bromley, Mike Heine, Ross Heine, Mason Townsend and Davis.
Yankton natives Colin Muth (who played for Tabor last season), Sheldon Gant (who played collegiately at Minnesota State Mankato) and Caid Koletzky (Mount Marty College) also join the fold, as does Austin Wise (played for Tabor last season). Also on the Tappers roster are Mount Marty players Adam Goodwillie, Alex Lagrutta, Nick Martinez, Gavin Schultz and Julito Fazzini.
Brothers Nick and Ben Hegge will again take the reins as co-managers of the Bluejays, who will look to a return trip to the state tournament.
Also on the roster this summer are Corey Roach, Carter Roach, Alec Martin, Jared Wiebelhaus, James Kaiser, Colton Schieffer, Andrew Schieffer, Austin Hegge, Gaige Hegge, Capp Bengston, Chris Kleinschmit, Tyler Zimmerman, Lathan Maibaum, Zack Knapp and Seth Wiebelhaus.
New to the roster is Tyler Priest, a pitcher at Mount Marty College.
Freeman Black Sox
Player/manager Jake Weier will look to help his squad make a return trip to the state tournament this summer.
The roster also includes Chet Peterson, Lance Friesen, Jackson Fiegen, Trey Christensen, Nate Broehm, Nathan Weier, Braxton Schmidt, Bailey Sage, Tryg Aanensen, Allan Scherschligt, Chris Wollmann, Josh Vaith and Dalton Bodewitz.
Manager Kendall Johnke returns many of the same faces who have taken the field for the Cardinals over the last handful of years.
His roster features Matt Sees, Simon Healy, Adam Gale, Tate Gale, Bryant Knodel, Dustin Livingston, Marcus Van Driel, Josh Healy, Cal Lucas, Matt Munkvold, Sawyer Hanson, Preston Gall, Jamison Kleinsasser, Jake Rausch and Dillon Turner.
Long-time manager Kevin Bloch’s squad returns plenty of experience to the Broncs’ dugout this summer.
Back to the roster are Tyler Edler, Ian Powell, Dave Schmidt, Cameron Schiltz, Alex Wagner, Brandon Nickolite, Micah Bartlett, Tanner Van Driel, Tanner Skorepa, Andy Dollarschell and Brody Bierle.
Yankton High School graduates Michael Drotzmann and Ethan Wishon also join the team.
Menno Mad Frogs
Manager Ryan Liebl’s squad in Menno features many of the same faces who have helped make the Mad Frogs a regular contender in District 6B.
Back to the fold are Tom Sattler, Doug Hall, Tyler Miller, Tate Bruckner, Macon Oplinger, Dylan Lehr, Dustin Lehr, Derrick Lehr, Caleb Preszler, Spencer Schultz, Cody Ulmer, Cody Herrboldt, Jacob Hertz, Tim Zeeb, Hunter Huber, Logan Klaudt, Kyle Munkvold, Zach Scott, Kyler Pekarek and Liebl.
New to the roster this season are Adam Hofer and Mitch Vandenberg.
After a year after tasting victory in the South Central League for the first time since 2013, the Crue are looking to take the next step this summer.
Player/manager Dalton Mogck boasts a roster that includes Scott Ulmer, Jeff Honner, Wyatt Adam, Luke Winckler, Grant Winckler, James Hlavac, Ryan Auch, Dominic Pechous, Connor Grosz, Ty Mogck, Chase Mogck, Tate Reiner, Dallas Fuerst, Hunter Martin, Dylan Stewart, Alex Caba and Jared Heisinger.
Newcomers include Jack Conrad and Tony Shelburg.
Many of the same players will look to guide the Bluebirds back to championship level in District 6B for player/manager Chris Sutera.
His roster also includes Dean Kaul, Chad Hovorka, Mace Merkwan, Zach Sutera, Hunter Hallock, Austin White, Prestin White, Brandon Kemp, Chase Kortan, Beau Rothschadl, Josh Schmidt, Sam Caba, Bryce Scieszinski, Joey Slama, Cole Uecker, Christian Uecker, Logan Tycz and Austin Koch.
Last year’s District 6B tournament champions return many of the same faces this summer for manager Lee Heimes.
He joins a roster that includes Devon Lammers, Jackson Sudbeck, Scott Morrison, Dawson Sudbeck, Clif Kephart, Don Whitmire, Dane Whitmire, David Schenk, Kyle Wiepen, Jalen Wieseler, Ryan Eskens, Ryan Heimes, Brett Wiebelhaus, Austin Lange, Justin Lange, Landon Wieseler, Nate Wieseler and Lucas Thingstad.
Also on the roster for the Expos is Yankton native Bradley Howe.
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