SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Central Plains Regional was supposed to be in Sioux Falls in 2019 and 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced some slight adjustments. Now, the tournament returns to Sioux Falls on Wednesday.
The 2019 Central Plains Regional was a success in Sioux Falls, however the return in 2020 was altered due to COVID-19.
“When we initially bid, we big for 2019-2020. Obviously, in 2020, the National Legion cancelled everything and it was a little bit of a work around for South Dakota to even have legion baseball, but we made that work,” Sioux Empire Baseball Association (SEBA) Executive Director Chad Barman said. “When that happened, they gave all of the host communities the option to just go with 2021 instead of 2020.”
The tournament will feature eight teams, from four different states and with a tournament this size, the city of Sioux Falls is sure to benefit.
“You look at economic impact and it is a really neat item to bring here. I mean, you have five nights of dining, hotel rooms and entertainment and all of that stuff,” Barman said. “Legion baseball in the Midwest is probably the strongest of any region in the country.”
Fargo Post 2 earned a win over Excelsior, Minnesota in the 2019 Central Plains Regional, however both of those teams have been eliminated from their respective state tournament contention.
“I think two years ago, you look at this tournament and Excelsior (Minnesota) and Fargo (Post 2) appeared to be, hands down the favorites and they were. They finished one and two,” Barman said. “Excelsior came into the tournament with a 50-2 record. This year, I think it’s a lot more wide open.”
South Dakota qualifies their two top teams in state champion, Renner and state runner-up, Sioux Falls East. With a wide open tournament field, there’s a chance for several games to be played by the two South Dakota teams.
“I don’t have the history of South Dakota legion baseball off hand, but I don’t think we’ve sent a team to the (Legion) World Series in a long time,” Barman said. “That would be a cool experience. It’d be really neat to have the two local teams play as long as they can.”
The tournament begins on Wednesday, August 4 and runs through the 8th.