DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (KELO) — Excitement is building for the Dell Rapids baseball team, as it hopes to become the first team since 2015 to win three consecutive state championships.
The Quarriers have won each of the last two Class B state crowns, which means there is added pressure on this year’s team to continue the string of titles.
“Even after the first run, we had a target on our back but we always just keep the mindset one game at a time,” Dell Rapids senior CJ Smith said. “We all have that same goal of wanting to get back there and win another one every year.”
After a perfect 14-0 league mark in 2021, Dells followed it up by winning its last 11 games in 2022 on its way to the championship.
“There’s always the learning how to win,” Dell Rapids head coach Danny Miller said. “And sometimes that takes a little while. I think that’s the thing we have. We have a lot of guys that know how to win.”
“We all have the same goal,” Smith said. “Obviously we want to get to the championship game at the very end of the season. We all want that, and we have younger guys that are stepping up big this year. We got some good freshmen and sophomores that’ll be big this year.”
This season, the Quarriers will look to replace Landon Ruesink, who is now playing both baseball and football at Dakota Wesleyan.
“It’s asking a lot to ask one player to step up and just assume that role, but the guys that are coming back are going to be a year older, a little bit stronger, a little wiser,” Miller said.
Dell Rapids played its first games of 2023 in Oklahoma. While they were only able to play a game and a half due to weather, the Quarriers believe the experience will pay dividends this season.
“There’s the team bonding part of it that happens as well,” Miller said. “It’s just good. Guys get to be together a little bit more, sharing hotel rooms, all that stuff, long bus rides.”
The Quarriers are scheduled to play their first game of the season in South Dakota on April 14 at Lennox.