Parkston Mudcats, Dimock/Emery favored in District 5B amateur tournamentThe Parkston Mudcats have made the state amateur baseball tournament each summer for the past eight years.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
The Parkston Mudcats have made the state amateur baseball tournament each summer for the past eight years.
The Dimock/Emery Raptors are the defending Class B state amateur baseball champions.
The two battled it out for supremacy in the Sunshine League all summer long — the Mudcats eventually won the league by a single game over the Raptors. The Mudcats beat Dimock/Emery 21-10 in eight innings to clinch the league title late in the season.
By winning the league’s regular-season championship for the second straight summer, the Mudcats earned the top seed — and the coveted first-round bye — in the District 5B amateur baseball tournament, which begins today in Platte. Dimock/Emery is the second seed and will open its district competition against seventh-seeded Delmont at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Coaches from the other five teams in the district admit the Mudcats and Raptors are favorites to secure two of the four state-tournament bids from districts. But a few other things are far from clear in District 5B.
What about the other two bids?
Delmont coach Scott Redd’s team finished last in the Sunshine League with a 3-11 record during the regular season.
That does not matter all that much at this point, though.
Redd said Wednesday that he thinks any of the other five teams in District 5B — save for the top-seed Parkston Mudcats and second-seeded Dimock/Emery — has a realistic chance of earning a bid to the state tournament.
“Nobody sticks out other than the Mudcats and Dimock/Emery, I don’t think,” said Redd, whose team opens districts against Dimock/Emery at 6:30 p.m. Friday. “Everybody else has played each other pretty close, so I’d say it’s up in the air. Any of the teams have a shot.”
Delmont lost a pair of close contests to the Raptors during the regular season, Redd said.
With two of the four state-tournament bids coming out of the consolation bracket, even a first-round loss may not be devastating in the double-elimination tournament.
“You go into that first game knowing you can play well and get a win,” Redd said. “But it’s always nice to know that if things go wrong on the opening night, you have a chance to regroup.”
Alexandria is the No. 3 seed in the district tournament. It had a 9-5 record during the regular season, despite injuries to nearly its entire pitching staff.
The Angels open play against Corsica/Stickney at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Alexandria swept C/S during the regular season.
“For those last two, if not three spots (in the state tournament), there’s at least three or four teams that could grab them,” said Alexandria’s Chris Marek, whose team could see Dimock/Emery in the second round if both teams win their opening games. “Platte has been playing well and knowing the majority of the teams are going to have some Legion players show up, that will make things interesting, too.”
With the Mudcats, Dimock/Emery and Alexandria holding the top three seeds, the first-round game tonight between fourth-seeded Platte and the fifth-seeded Parkston Rock Bass could give the winner an inside track to a bid.
“The way everybody was playing at the end of the year, I wouldn’t say anybody is out of it,” said Platte coach Todd Strand, whose team is hosting the district tournament for the first time since 2007. “The first win will be a big one. If we can get that one, it takes a lot of weight off your shoulders.”
Rock Bass first-year manager Dan Jervik said he thinks the fourth and final bid to the state tournament could come down to Platte and the Rock Bass’ tournament-opening game tonight.
“I’d say the Mudcats, Dimock/Emery and Alex are going to be going after those three top spots,” Jervik said. “So (tonight) is a huge game for us. We’re going to put everything we can into winning (tonight).”
Pick-up players could be highly coveted
With all seven teams in the district having a realistic shot of earning one of District 5B’s four state-tournament bids, the three unlucky teams are sure to be disappointed.
Some of their players will almost certainly be making the trip to the state tournament, though. The state tournament will run Aug. 3-14 at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
Each team that makes the state tournament will be allowed to pick up some reinforcements from the teams that do not make the state tournament.
“If you just look at if we don’t make it, we have plenty of players capable to step in for anybody in our league,” Parkston Rock Bass coach Dan Jervik said. “Every team has four, five or six guys that could step in and help any of the other teams in the district.”
Platte’s Todd Strand said when his team has made past trips to the state tournament, it almost always is in search of an extra arm.
“I think everybody goes into the state tournament looking for pitching,” Strand said. “With three teams left that won’t make the state tournament, and who knows who it’s going to be, it’ll be interesting to see who’s left over.”
With the schedule of this year’s state tournament, a team would potentially have to win five games in an 11-day span to win a state title.
Most teams around do not have the horses on the mound to go through that gauntlet — one that Dimock/Emery successfully stared down last year with a staff that included Phil Johnson, Thomas Pickett and pickup player Tyson Gau, who played for Alexandria’s Legion team last year and is on the Alexandria amateur roster this year. Gau has not pitched all summer, though, because of an injured right elbow.
“There’s always potential on who gets in that there could be some decent assets for the state tournament,” Alexandria’s Chris Marek said. “More times than not, teams will go after a pitcher. Typically, in the regular season, you’ll need two or three pitchers since you only have two games a week.
“You’ve got to win five games in 10 days in the state tournament. Pitching will be at a premium.”
Sunshine League final standings
1. Parkston Mudcats 12-2
2. Dimock/Emery Raptors 11-3
3. Alexandria Angels 9-5
*4. Mitchell Mad Dogs 7-7
5. Platte Killer Tomatoes 5-9
6. Parkston Rock Bass 5-9
7. Corsica/Stickney 4-10
8. Delmont 3-11
*The Mitchell Mad Dogs move up to Class A for postseason play
District 5B tournament schedule
Today through July 29 in Platte
Today’s first-round game
Game 1: No. 4 Platte vs. No. 5 Parkston Rock Bass, 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s first-round games
Game 2: No. 2 Dimock/Emery vs. No. 7 Delmont, 6:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 3 Alexandria vs. No. 6 Corsica/Stickney, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday’s second-round winner’s bracket games
Game 4: No. 1 Parkston Mudcats vs. Platte/Parkston Rock Bass winner, 5 p.m.
Game 5: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 7 p.m.
Tuesday’s consolation bracket games
Game 6: Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 28 consolation bracket games
Game 7: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 5, 6:30 p.m.
Game 8: Loser Game 4 vs. Winner Game 6, 8:30 p.m. (No. 2 and 3 representatives are winners of Games 7 and 8; higher seed in district tournament gets higher seed at state tournament)
Friday, July 29 championship game
Game 9: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 7:30 p.m. (No. 1 representative is the loser of Game 9)