The amateur baseball world will once again reconvene in Mitchell.
After a year in Sioux Falls, the South Dakota State Class B Amateur Baseball Tournament has returned to Mitchell’s Cadwell Park, beginning tonight (Wednesday) and concluding with the Aug. 18 championship game.
The five teams from District 6B — Wynot (Nebraska), Crofton (Nebraska), Tabor, Menno and Freeman — are hoping a change in venue results in deeper runs. The lone district team to win a game at the state tournament a year ago was Lesterville, and the Broncs lost in the second round.
Action begins tonight with District 6B tournament champion Wynot playing Corsica-Stickney at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, Crofton faces Harrisburg at 11 a.m. and Tabor plays Kimball-White Lake at 5:30 p.m.
Menno, the district tournament runner-up, opens with Clear Lake on Friday at 5:30 p.m., while Freeman will take on Flandreau on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
In the Class A bracket, Yankton — the regular season champs of the South Central League — will open with Castlewood on Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Brookings. The winner advances to Mitchell on Aug. 16, while the loser will play Saturday morning.
Here is a look at each of the six area teams, in alphabetic order.
The Crofton Bluejays dedicated their season to Kyle Mueller, a former player who was killed in a traffic accident in January.
Now, they hope to honor him with a run to a state title.
“When we got together at the beginning of the season, we said that we were going to play this year for Kyle,” first-year manager Ben Hegge said.
Mueller helped Crofton become one of the most successful Class B teams — only Alexandria (29) and the Parkston Mudcats (23) have more wins than Crofton (22) at the state tournament this decade.
“Kyle had a lot of big moments and plays in the state tournament, and we hope we can play like him,” Hegge added.
The Bluejays have been led this season by Nick Hegge (.523), James Kaiser (.367, 8 HR), Jared Wiebelhaus (.364), Tyler Zimmerman (.362), Austin Hegge (.362), Corey Roach (.327), Scot Donner, Capp Bengston, Chris Kleinschmit, Tyler Koch, Andrew Schieffer, Colton Schieffer, Gaige Hegge and Alec Martin.
Crofton picked up three players for the state tournament: Alex Wagner (Lesterville), Simon Healy (Irene) and Marcus Van Driel (Irene).
The same nucleus of players will look to utilize their experience to mount a deep run at the state tournament for the Black Sox.
Guys like Allan Scherschligt (.266), Lee Scherschligt (.304), Phil Madsen (.286), Jake Weier (.233), Brett Scherschligt (.328), Jared McVay (.239) and Mitch Wollmann (.150) have been fixtures in the Freeman lineup for years.
Nate Broehm has anchored the pitching staff with a 3-2 record and a 2.51 ERA, while Allan Scherschligt (1-3, 4.50) and Phil Madsen (1-0, 4.50) have also recorded a win.
Freeman picked up Brandon Nickolite (Lesterville) for the state tournament.
The Mad Frogs are hoping this is the year they put together a deep run in the Class B bracket thanks to their pitching staff and team-wide depth.
Menno has been led at the plate by Cody Ulmer (.348), Macon Oplinger (.346), Tate Bruckner (.345), Tom Sattler (.314), Dylan Lehr (.300), Adam Walter (.281), Spencer Schultz (.273), Caleb Preszler (.257), Tyler Miller (.257), Kyler Pekarek (.238) and Zach Scott (.227).
On the mound, the Mad Frogs have again relied on Oplinger (5-1), Hall (4-3), Ulmer (2-0) and Tom Sattler (0-2).
“We’re posed and ready to make a run in the state tournament,” manager Ryan Liebl said. “Our pitching and our offense has been great the last few games, but we have to improve on defense.”
Menno added Tyler Edler (Lesterville) and Hunter Martin (Scotland) for the state tournament.
The Bluebirds’ brief stay in Sioux Falls last year got off to a rocky start when Colman scored four runs in the top of the first inning on the way to an 11-6 first-round victory.
Tabor, which received the last tournament spot out of District 6B, is hoping to make a few trips to Mitchell this year.
“This young team is hungry and wants to prove they can compete with the toughest teams in the state,” manager Chris Sutera said.
Tabor has been led at the plate by regulars Colin Muth (.522, 4 HR, 22 RBI), Hunter Hallock (.462), Cam Guevara (.326), Zach Sutera (.311), Chris Sutera (.305, 1 HR, 20 RBI), Cole Uecker (.269), Andrew Roland (.250), Sam Caba (.237) and Bryce Scieszinski (.187).
The tandem of Muth (5-3, 3.10 ERA) and Scieszinski (3-1, 3.90 ERA) have anchored the pitching staff, while Hallock (1-0) and Austin Wise (1-0) also have seen time.
The Bluebirds added Tanner Van Driel (Lesterville) for the state tournament.
A host of familiar names will look to guide the Yankton Tappers into the second weekend of the Class A State Tournament.
Yankton’s lineup has been paced by Gabe Leon (.351), Alex Mueller (.392, 23 RBI), Devin Gullikson (.471, 19 RBI), Nik Davis (.294), Mitch Gullikson (.318, 2 HR, 13 RBI), Mack Hollingsworth (.423), Derrik Nelson (.569, 3 HR, 23 RBI), Ross Heine (.333) and Mason Townsend (.356).
It’s been the pitching staff that has set the tone this season for the Tappers. Beau Lofink (5-0, 1.80 ERA), Luke Bauske (2-1, 4.17 ERA) and Mack Hollingsworth (2-0, 1.17 ERA) have led the way, while seven other pitchers have recorded a win.
The Expos are hoping the combination of last year’s narrow first-round loss at the state tournament and last weekend’s District 6B title provides plenty of motivation heading into Mitchell tonight.
Wynot, managed by Lee Heimes, boast an offense that includes Jackson Sudbeck (.368), Devon Lammers (.341), Jalen Wieseler (.296), Lee Heimes (.468), Kyle Wiepen (.380), Chase Rolfes (.418), Dawson Sudbeck (.316), Scott Morrison (.316), Ryan Eskens (.243) and Clif Kephart (.194).
On the mound, Wynot has been paced by Jackson Sudbeck (4-1), Austin Lange (2-0), Lee Heimes (2-1), Devon Lammers (1-0), Scott Morrison (1-1), Jalen Wieseler (1-1) and Brett Wiebelhaus (1-4).
The Expos picked up three players for the state tournament: Dave Schmidt (Lesterville), Matt Sees (Irene) and Adam Gale (Irene).
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