MADISON, S.D. (DSU) — The Dakota State University baseball program announced their 2024 early signing class.  These five student-athletes signed their letter of intent as part of the November 8, 2023, early national signing day.
“Our five early signees are talented on the field, in the classroom, and have high character,” said DSU baseball head coach Derrion Hardie.  “We’ve been able to address needs with talent on and off the field with this early signing class that we’re excited about.  We also believe they will have a big impact on the future success of our program.”

Hardie and his coaching staff placed a focus on in-state talent in the 2024 early signing class with all five hailing from South Dakota.   

In 2023, the Trojans had the second-best season in program history finishing with a record of 36-18 highlighted by a nation leading 21-game win streak that started on March 14 and ended April 17.  For the second straight year, the Trojans earned a win over a Top 10 nationally ranked team and ranking by the NAIA Region/Area Ranking Committee (ARC).  In addition, the team broke 21 school records.  Like 2022, the Trojans put themselves in position to win a conference championship in 2023 but fell one game short of the North Star conference title.

The Trojans return a core group from the 2023 squad as they look to build on the success of the program.

2024 Early Signing Class:
Braylon Bear – RHP – Jefferson High School – Sioux Falls, SD – 6’2 185
Braylon is a right-handed pitcher out of Sioux Falls, SD, and Jefferson High School.  During the 2023 legion ball season, Braylon earned First Team All-State honors after posting a 7-1 record with 52 K’s and a 1.93 ERA in 50.2 IP.  A 2-sport athlete in both baseball and basketball, Braylon also carries a 4.0 GPA and plans to pursue a degree in business analytics.

Coach Rutan on Braylon: “Braylon is an exceptional athlete and a player that our coaching staff has been following for quite a while.  Once I was able to see Braylon perform at our camp over the summer, I knew I wanted him to become a Trojan.  He has the tools and makeup to have a great collegiate career and compete for a pivotal role on our pitching staff right away.  I am excited to have Braylon join our program and see the value he is going to bring during his time at Dakota State.”

Jaxon DeHaan – C – Roosevelt High School – Sioux Falls, SD – 5’10 195
Jaxon is a catcher/utility player out of Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, SD.  Jaxon comes to Dakota State from one of the premier travel organizations in the region of the Minnesota Blizzard where he has shined as both a catcher and infielder.  During his time at Dakota State, Jaxon plans to pursue a degree in business.

Coach Rutan on Jaxon: “Jaxon fits the vision we have for an impact catcher in our program perfectly.  He is athletic, mobile behind the plate and consistently produces hard contact at the plate with plus exit velocity and power.  I expect Jaxon to come in right away and compete for the starting catcher position and continue to play with the confidence and swagger I have seen in him since our first interaction.  I look forward to seeing Jaxon play a key role in elevating our program during his time at Dakota State.”

Hunter Den Boer – OF – O’Gorman High School – Sioux Falls, SD – 6’3 190
Hunter is an outfielder from Sioux Falls, SD and attends O’Gorman High School.  During the 2023 legion baseball season, Hunter had an impressive season highlighted by a .355 batting average, .453 on base percentage, and 3 home runs.  Hunter boasts a 4.0 GPA.   

Coach Hardie on Hunter: “Hunter is a dynamic outfielder that our coaching staff has watched get bigger, faster, and stronger this past year due to his strong work ethic and the time he puts into development.  He can be a legit five tool player at the collegiate level.  What also attracted us to Hunter is his desire to compete.  We are always looking for talent, but competitiveness and toughness needs to be at the forefront of our evaluation.  We are looking forward to seeing Hunter reach his goals as a student-athlete at Dakota State.”   

Aiden Barfuss – INF – Winner High School – Winner, SD – 6’1 200
Aiden is a third baseman out of Winner, SD and attends Winner High School. Aiden is an all-state player at both the high school and legion levels of baseball within the state.  He posted a .433 batting average, .506 on-base percentage, 1.223 on base plus slugging, and .976 fielding percentage during this past summer season.  A 3-sport athlete, Aiden was the pre-season player of the year in class 9B football and will play a key role with the Winner Warriors basketball team this winter.

Coach Evers on Aiden: “Aiden is a high-end player who has been on the DSU baseball coaching staff’s radar for two years.  After following him all summer and getting the opportunity to see him perform at our camp this August, the coaching staff knew that Aiden was someone who we wanted to join our family here at DSU.  His raw ability puts himself in a great position to develop into a key contributor for our program during his four years at Dakota State. I am fired up to have Aiden in our program and I am looking forward to next fall when we can get him on campus.”

Cristhian Rodriguez – RHP – Hamlin High School – Bryant, SD – 5’11 230
Cristhian is a right-handed pitcher from Bryant, SD and attends Hamlin High School.  A multi-sport athlete in baseball, football, and track & field, Cristhian plans to pursue a degree in exercise science during his tenure at Dakota State.

Coach Rutan on Cristhian: “I am excited to add Cristhian to our 2024 recruiting class.  Our coaching staff values players that aim to represent our program proudly and it became clear in our conversations that Cristhian had an authentic and genuine desire to become a Trojan.  Cristhian is a resilient and independent young man with qualities that will help him during his time as a student-athlete at Dakota State.  I look forward to working with Cristhian and seeing him reach the potential he has a pitcher in our program.”