GROTON, S.D. (KELO) — Tabor Post 183 hadn’t won a state legion baseball championship since 1985, but that all changed following a 5-0 performance at this last week’s Class ‘B’ State Tournament.
Tabor found themselves with a losing record early in the 2021 season, but Post 183 knew they could grow from their losses.
“At one point in the season, we might’ve been 5-6 and we talked about how we’re a better team than 5-6, but I’ve always thought that you learn more from losses than wins and they knew what we could become and they kept working hard and here we are,” Tabor head coach Gary Kortan said.
Post 183 entered the region postseason on a three-game losing streak, but that trend didn’t last long as Tabor would go on to win their next eight contests.
“We had a little bad stretch before regions, we went back to work and they really performed here when they had to,” Kortan said.
“I think we just played more as a team. During the season, we knew the games didn’t really matter, so we didn’t really try, but during regions and state, we just came together as a team. We knew it mattered and so we just went all out as a family,” Tournament MVP Riley Rothschadl said.
Tabor pounded out an impressive 44 runs on 54 hits in their run to the title.
“That’s the best we’ve hit all season! I mean, we just brought it all together for state,” Rothschadl said. “We went one at bat to the next and we just hit strikes, fouled off the balls and just hit our best.”
“Right before regions, we started taking BP (batting practice) more, trying to fix what we were bad at and coach gave us a few tips,” Tabor first baseman Kaleb Kubal said. “He hit with individual people if we needed it and it just worked.”
Tabor paired their explosive offense with some shutdown pitching. Post 183 pitchers allowed just 12 runs in five games.
“We had a pretty deep pitching staff coming into state and everybody did their job and we all pitched really well,” Kubal said. “It’s never been like any other year. We’ve never been this deep before, so it was big for us to have that pitching.”
“We felt we were seven or eight pitchers deep. We had a few nice games early where we could rest our guys and obviously if you make it to Tuesday and I felt like we had our two and three guys going, then we’re in good shape and that’s what happened,” Kortan said.
Several players made major contributions for Tabor in their run to the state title including Kaden Kubal who batted .625 and earned the batting champion award.
However, it was one of their youngest players, Riley Rothschadl, that earned the tournament’s MVP award.
“He’s still a 16-year-old. He’s got a state teener tournament coming up on Friday. I think he ended up this year 6-1, he had an ERA of under .7,” Kortan said. “He’s got a bright future ahead of him and obviously he led us and he’s a part of this.”
Post 183 finished the year with a 23-9 overall record.