WHITESTOWN, IN (KELO) — The Sioux Falls Little League team is set to represent the state of South Dakota this weekend, when they play in the Midwest Regional of the Little League World Series.

Sioux Falls picked up a 12-9 win over Harney in the state championship. That win sent Sioux Falls to the Midwest Regional.

Now, they are in search of three critical wins, which could lift them to the Little League World Series. However, any loss along the way will make the path more difficult. A loss could force Team SD to win as many as five games.

Courtesy: Little League World Series

South Dakota will play on Friday, August 5 at noon. Their opponent will be the Little League team from Missouri.

Let’s first meet the team from South Dakota, as they prepare for the tournament.

Team South Dakota Roster

1Kade OehlkeP – 1B
2Tanner CharronP – CF
3Cooper DurickP – RF
4Grady JohnsonP – C
5Talec SchlimgenP – SS
6Dawson BarckP – 2B
7Sajen HaasP – LF
9Chase Yde1B
10Eli HartP – 3B
18Henry SchmitzP – 2B
27Owen RemppP – RF
34Henrik KortanLF
44Evin EdwardsP – SS
99Max Vortherms1B

This year’s team South Dakota has a 14-player roster. The main thing you’ll notice is the depth of pitching on the team.

Eleven of the 14 players are listed as pitchers, which means the depth is there if the team gets deep into the tournament.

This year’s team may not have the top level pitching that last year’s did, but it’s hard to compare to a team that was led by Gavin Weir.

Gavin Weir / Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball

Weir was lights out in team South Dakota’s run to the Little League World Series semifinals in 2021. While this year’s team doesn’t have that high-end pitching, they do have plenty of depth.

That pitching depth will be what this year’s team leans on.

As for the other side of the ball, team South Dakota can swing it. Offense is the key this year as nearly anybody on the team can find a way to put the bat on the ball.

“Everyone can hit the ball. Someone’s going to go up to the plate and everyone is going to hit the ball hard. They can drive in a run or some of us can even hit it out,” Kade Oehlke said.

#1 – Kade Oehlke

“Hitting is key; you know, it’s contagious. We tell them, once the first kid gets a hit, then the second and we just keep that line moving. We have some great starters in the lineup and a great leadoff hitter,” head coach Joe Rempp said.

Sioux Falls proved their offensive ability in the state championship. They allowed nine runs to Harney, but were able to pound out 12 runs of their own to win.

#6 – Dawson Barck

This offense will be key for team South Dakota and their potential run in the Midwest Region.

Team Missouri Roster

1Brock HulstineP – 1B
2Kamden NewberryUT
4Bryce StevensSS – OF
5Brayton Robinson2B – OF
10Bratie HollandP – OF
11Andrew BairdOF
15Paxten ParishP – OF
16Drake DeckerSS – OF
17Slade StifflerC – 3B
22Braydon Korth2B – OF
23Brody Jackson2B – OF
24Laken JohnsonC – 3B
25Jaxon Kent3B – OF

Unlike the South Dakota team, the Missouri team has very few players listed as a pitcher on their roster. Clearly, they have more than three players that can pitch, but they do only have three listed as pitchers.

One can assume that Brock Hulstine, Bratie Holland and Paxten Parish are the top pitchers for Missouri and we could potentially see one of them throw come Friday.

Last year’s Missouri team was from Columbia and they were swept out of the Midwest Regional.

South Dakota defeated them 7-0 and then Missouri was eliminated by North Dakota, 9-6.

While that fact is interesting, it really doesn’t have any impact on this season, especially considering that the two teams are from different cities. Last year’s team was from Columbia, MO, while this year’s team is from Webb City, MO.

The two cities are more than 200 miles apart from each other.

Webb City is a suburb of Joplin, MO. The population is 13,031. That is compared to Sioux Falls, which is 180,927.

While the populations are different, the two teams appear to be similar.

Missouri put up a lot of runs in their state tournament, as did South Dakota. That could be a factor when these two high-powered offenses cross paths.

“We’ve done some homework on them, but we don’t know everything about them. That’s the fun part is we get to play against different states and against different kids,” Rempp said. “They put up a lot of runs in their state tournament. They put up a lot of runs, they played some good defense and they had some good pitching. They’re a solid team and we’re going to have to bring our A-game to get a victory.”

South Dakota knows some about their opponent, but there is still plenty that is unknown and that’s the tricky part of playing a team that is more than 500 miles away.

The key will be focusing on your play, more than your opponent. As the tournament goes on, you can watch other teams and try to build a game plan to slow them down, but when you’ve never seen that team play, the focus will shift.

One can expect coach Rempp and team South Dakota to focus on playing their best version of baseball. That will be the key on Friday.

Friday’s Game

South Dakota and Missouri will cross paths on Friday at noon. The game can be seen on ESPN+ or you can follow along with in-game updates on Twitter. Follow @KELOSweeter for updates.

KELOLAND Sports will also have highlights from the game. You can see a story online and highlights on-air following Friday’s contest.

If South Dakota wins, they’ll play Sunday at 9 a.m., but with a loss, they’ll face elimination on Saturday at noon.

We’ll also have coverage of team South Dakota throughout their run in the Midwest Regional.