SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Class ‘B’ high school state baseball tournament begins on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31 with four quarterfinal games in one day.
HOWARD TIGERS – 12-0
Howard is undefeated on the year with a 12-0 league record and a 13-0 overall record.
The Tigers earned wins over Clark Area (9-1) and Sioux Valley (1-0) to advance to the class ‘B’ state tournament.
The Tigers are scoring eight runs per league game this season and that effort has been led by Riley Genzlinger who is batting .381 with 16 hits and 9 runs batted in.
Three other Tigers are batting above three-hundred including Ryder Erickson (.351), Jaxon Kampshoff (.344) and Jace Sifore (.303).
Kampshoff leads the team in on base percentage at .580.
Despite their offensive success, the Tigers go to has been on the other side of the ball.
Howard is allowing their opponents to score just 1.66 runs per game as the Tigers pitching staff has thrown five shutouts this season.
Genzlinger leads the team in innings pitched as he has thrown 24.2 innings. He sits at a 1.419 ERA with five earned runs and 33 strikeouts.
Five Howard pitchers have thrown at least eight innings this season, all of which own a sub-three ERA, including Samuel Callies who has the lowest ERA at .840 in 16.1 innings pitched.
VERMILLION TANAGERS – 9-2
Howard’s quarterfinal opponent is Vermillion. The Tanagers finished the year with a 9-2 league record and a 15-6 overall record.
Vermillion picked up wins over Hanson-Aurora (13-2) and Elk Point-Jefferson (11-2) to move to the state tournament.
The Tanagers are very similar to the Tigers as they own a talented offense and a strong defense.
Offensively, Vermillion is scoring more than 6.5 runs per league game this season, thanks in large part to Jack Kratz.
Kratz leads the team in almost every offensive category including average (.477), on base percentage (.553), hits (31), slugging percentage (.738), doubles (8), triples (3). home runs (1) and runs batted in (25).
On the other side of the ball, the Tanagers have a pair of ace pitchers who has been dominant all season long.
Willis Robertson leads the team in earned run average with an impressive .269 ERA in 26 innings pitched, while striking out 31.
Jake Jensen has been just as good as he leads the team in innings pitched (41) and wins as he owns a 6-1 record. Jensen holds a 1.195 ERA with 36 strikeouts.
The two pitchers have allowed a combined 8 earned runs in 67 innings.
The Tanagers and Tigers will meet at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 31, in the tournaments first game. This game, no doubt, has the makings to be a classic pitcher’s duel, at least for the first few innings. Both teams have talented batting orders which means that either team could find the runs column at any given moment.
PLATTE GEDDES/ DAKOTA CHRISTIAN/ WHITE LAKE/ CORSICA/STICKNEY HONKERS – 7-0
Platte-Geddes owns a 7-0 league record and a 10-1 overall record.
PG/DC/WL/C/S picked up a 2-1 win over Winner/Colome to advance to the state tournament.
The Honkers have been strong on offense as they posted ten runs or more in four of their seven league games this season, including a 21 run performance in a win over Lead-Deadwood back on May 16.
Defensively, the Honkers are allowing just one run per game as they have thrown a total of four shutouts this season.
Kelby VanDerWeff has led the Honkers on the mound as he is coming off a complete game win over Winner/Colome. VanDerWerff threw seven innings and allowed just one unearned run on six hits and one walk, while striking out eleven.
Platte-Geddes has lost just one non-league game this season and they have since won eight straight games, including six league wins.
WEST CENTRAL TROJANS – 9-2
West Central will meet the Honkers in the quarterfinal round. The Trojans own a 9-2 league record and a 10-4 overall record.
The Trojans used a 5-1 win over Garretson and a 20-0 win over Tea Area to claim a spot in the state tournament.
West Central has been similar to the other teams in the state tournament as they have a solid offense and a talented defense.
The Trojan offense is scoring more than 7.5 runs per game, thanks in large part to five hitters that own a batting average higher than 300.
Ryan Healy leads the team with a .485 average, but Grafton Stroup (.429), Noah Hohn (.393), Loren Jacobson (.382) and Zach Madsen (.351).
For as good as the Trojans have been on offense, they’ve been that stingy on defense.
West Central is allowing their opponents to score less than two runs a contest, thanks in large part to Grafton Stroup and Noah Hohn who have pitched nearly half of the teams innings.
Hohn owns the teams lowest ERA for a pitcher who has thrown more than ten innings. Hohn owns a .429 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched, allowing just one earned run and striking out 13.
Stroup leads the team in innings pitched (17.1) and owns a 1.615 ERA with a team high 20 strikeouts.
West Central and Platte-Geddes will meet at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, May 31. This game looks to have the making of a pitchers duel, however you’ll want to keep an eye on both offenses as either one could come to life if the other team gives them the opportunity.
DAKOTA VALLEY – 10-1
Dakota Valley picked up wins over Beresford and Parkston to advance to the class ‘B’ state tournament.
Offensively, the Panthers have been productive scoring nearly seven runs per league contest this season.
DV’s Paul Bruns leads the team in hitting with a .431 average, while younger brother, Isaac Bruns, sits right behind him at .396.
Jaxon Hennies (.327) is the only other Panther batting over 300.
Defense is where Dakota Valley has thrived this year as they have only allowed 19 total runs in 11 league games, which is an average of 1.73 runs a contest.
Jake Pruchniak leads the team in innings pitched (44) as he has allowed five earned runs, giving him a .795 earned run average.
However, similar to the hitting, Paul Bruns leads the pitching staff as well as he is 5-0 in the season, with a .000 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched.
As a staff, the Panthers have thrown five shutouts in their 11 league games.
Dakota Valley has a solid 1-2 punch at pitcher, which could make them a really tough out in the tournament.
REDFIELD PHEASANTS – 9-3
Redfield enters the state tournament with a 9-3 record, following wins over Hamlin (3-0) and Madison (7-3 in extra innings) in the regional tournament.
Redfield started the season 0-2 following back-to-back losses to Madison and Howard. Since then, the Pheasants are 9-1.
They suffered a 21-11 setback to Castlewood/Deuel on Friday, May 14 and they have been stout defensively since that game.
Redfield has allowed just ten run in the next four games (2.5 runs per game) including a shutout of Hamlin in the first round of the playoffs and then limiting a strong Madison offense to just three runs.
The big name to listen for is Osborn… that’s right, Peyton Osborn, Owen Osborn and Camden Osborn.
The three Osborns were huge factors in their 7-3 win over Madison. They were a combined 4-9 at the dish with two singles, two doubles, three walks and 4 runs batted in.
Despite their success, the Pheasants still have other guys that can play such as Fehi Faonelua (CF/P), Keaton Rohlfs (C/P) and a few others.
However, the pitcher to watch is Peyton Osborn. His sub-one earned run average has helped pace Redfield this season. He pitched six innings in their win over Madison and allowed just one earned run on five hits, while fanning six hitters.
The Pheasants can swing it too as they are scoring nearly eight runs per contest this season, including a few big performances such a pair of 14 run performances in their wins over Miller/Highmore/Wolsey/Wessington and Elkton.
Redfield and Dakota Valley will square off at 5:00 p.m. on Monday. I expect this to be a fun pitchers duel that will see some clutch hitting.
DELL RAPIDS QUARRIERS – 11-0
Dell Rapids finished the year with an unblemished record in league play at 11-0.
The Quarriers cruised past Tri-Valley (10-0) in the first round of the playoffs, but needed three runs in the seventh inning and a walk-off error to edge past Lennox 6-5.
Dell Rapids has been solid on defense allowing just 2.91 runs per league game this season, including two shutouts against Tea Area and Tri-Valley.
The Quarriers were led by the pitching group of Austin Henry, Jack Henry, Treyse Eastman and Braden Pankonen.
All four of those pitchers have an ERA below 2.3 including the Henry brothers whose ERA is sub-one.
Austin Henry has led the group with a .189 ERA and just one earned run all season. He leads the state in strikeouts with 92 in 37 innings pitched. That an average of 2.5 strikeouts per inning.
Despite their talented defense and pitching staff, the Quarrier offense has been even more impressive as they are putting up 8.82 runs per league game this year.
Austin Henry has paced the offense with his .425 batting average. Treyse Eastman (.361), Aiden Boechler (.311) and Landon Ruesink (.310) are all above the .300 mark as well.
Senior Kaden Eastman leads the team in runs batted in (19).
Even more impressive is the team overall stats for offense. The Quarriers are batting .292 as a team with a .390 on base percentage.
Dell Rapids is going to be the team to keep an eye out for. They’ve got the make up of a team that could make a run.
GREGORY COUNTY – 6-2
Region four’s Gregory County picked up a 12-0 win over Lead/Deadwood and a 6-0 win over St. Thomas More to advance to the state tournament.
The Gorilla’s have been stout on offense as they are scoring more than ten runs per contest in league games.
They have been led by Rylan Peck who leads the team in batting average (.742), on base percentage (.771), hits (23), runs batted in (18), runs scored (17), home runs (2) and slugging percentage (1.226).
Trey Murry (.559), Ben Witt (.444), Sawyer Tietgen (.407) and Rhoss Oliver (.400) are all batting over the .400 mark.
Defensively, the Gorilla’s have seen a little more struggle, but they have been solid. Gregory County has allowed their opponents to score 4.88 runs per league game this season.
Trey Murry has paced the pitching staff with a .447 ERA in 15.2 innings pitched, while striking out 22 hitters.
Ben Witt leads the team in innings pitched (27), but has given up 14 runs in those innings and owns a 3.630 earned run average.
Between Witt and Murry, they have pitched 42.2 innings of the team’s total 63.1 innings.
Gregory County and Dell Rapids will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Monday. Both teams have found success on offense this season, so the team that finds so traction on defense/pitching will most likely be the winner.
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