Sioux Falls East rides ‘underdog mentality’ to top-seed in the state tournament

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls East reached the class ‘A’ state legion baseball tournament in 2018, but have been unable to reach the state’s biggest stage over the past three seasons. However, this year, Post 15 East is back in the state tournament and this time, they’re the number one seed.

Sioux Falls East returned a lot of talent from a team that finished 12-12 in 2020.

“We’re all a very competitive group and we’ve all kind of been together, coming up through the East organization and I think this was kind of our year to show what we’re made of,” East player Ty Schafer said.

East has been led by their pitching this season as they are allowing four runs per league contest.

“You’ve got you have confidence in your team and we know anyone we can throw out there, we’ve got five or six guys, like you said, that can throw strikes and get us any win that we need, as it has been seen throughout the year,” Schafer said.

“Our pitching has been awesome! It’s hard to even point to one guy, I feel like we could go ten different directions on Friday and be in a really good spot, with a chance to win a game,” East head coach Matt Storo said.

Post 15 East has been atop the league standings for most of the season, however their mentality has been focused on playing as the underdog.

“That’s where it becomes a little more complex, when you’re the number one seed consistently and you’ve hung onto it for most of the season,” Storo said. “Then you take care of business and make state, then it’s tough to continue to fully believe that, but you know, it’s more of a concept of all those things that an underdog does, we’ve got to do them.”

“To win games, you’ve got to show up and do all of the little things right. When you have that underdog mentality and nobody really expects you to win, they’ve got to do everything right and there’s no pressure on you,” Post 15 East infielder Grant Graber said. “Every single game, we have that quote ‘underdog mentality’ so that we can win the game and so we can show up.”

Sioux Falls East is hoping to win their first state title since 2011, but they’ll have to take it one game at a time.

“I think it’s everyone’s goal to win it, but clearly you’ve got to focus on one game at a time. Now that it’s the state tournament, standings and records don’t really matter. Everyone is really the same, so just winning one game at a time,” Graber said.

Post 15 will play Watertown Post 17 on Friday at 11 a.m. in the first game of the tournament and that game will be livestreamed on KELOLAND.com.

The third game of the day, between the Renner Royals and Pierre Post 8 will also be streamed on KELOLAND.com. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.

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