Runs down with first season of wood batsWith the switch from metal to wood bats this year the state amateur baseball tournament is seeing a drop in offense.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
With the switch from metal to wood bats this year the state amateur baseball tournament is seeing a drop in offense.
In last year’s first round of the Class B state tournament, 20 of 32 teams put up more than five runs with two teams being shutout. In this year’s opening round, just four teams scored six or more and five teams were unable to score a run.
“We’re expecting to play 3-2 ballgames,” Tabor manager Gary Kortan said.
Kortan’s team put up a first-round high 16 runs in a 16-2 win over the Renner Old Timers.
Kortan said all season has been a struggle to put up similar offensive numbers after the transition to wood bats.
“I think our batting average from last year is 90 average points down,” he said. “I’m not sure how many home runs we hit as a team, but I don’t think we hit 10 this year. Last year, I assume we were in the 40 range.”
Crofton, Neb., put up 10 runs in a 10-3 win over Garretson as the team had three home runs, but the team’s manager Carl Schieffer knows the wood bats make it harder.
“I can’t hit home runs anymore,” he joked. “But certain guys seem to hit better with wood bats.”
Crofton’s Scot Donner and Landon Danelson, of Lennox, each recorded two home runs in their opening-round games while Brian Duxbury, of Salem; Chris Sutera, of Tabor; and Rand Tygeson, of Crofton have all homered once.
“It takes a pretty good poke to take it out (of Cadwell Park) with a wood bat,” Salem manager Roger Duxbury said.
Out of state success
Four teams from outside of South Dakota qualified for the Class B state tournament and all four advanced to the second round.
Wynot, Neb., started the tournament off with a 2-1 win over Colman in extra innings. Larchwood, Iowa, continued the out of state success with a 3-2 victory over Dimock/Emery and defending champions Crofton, Neb., and Akron, Iowa, both came away with wins.
Crofton handed Garretson a 10-3 setback while Akron took down Winner/Colome 4-1.
Wynot fell Sunday in the second round but an out of state team is guaranteed to advance to the third round, as Larchwood and Crofton face off at 8 p.m. tonight at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
Akron takes on Clark at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Notes: Friday’s early session that hosted games between Dimock/Emery and Larchwood as well as Crofton against Garretson was the best chance for kids to rake in some extra cash. CorTrust Bank was the corporate sponsor for the session and was giving $2 for returned foul balls during the games. That amount is four times the normal rate at Cadwell Park. … Dimock/Emery’s Jason Schmidt was the only player to record three hits without getting out at the plate. Schmidt was 3-for-3 with a double and two walks, but his team was eliminated from the tournament. … Alexandria pitcher Trever Vermeulen’s 17 strikeouts against Wessington Springs were the most recorded by a pitcher in the first round. Winner/Colome’s Derek Graesser struck out 16 in eight innings as his team fell 4-1 to Akron. Irene’s Brian Drapeaux was the only other pitcher with double-digit strikeouts. He recorded 10 in eight innings as his team lost 1-0 to Lake Norden. … Three pitchers threw into extra innings during the first round. Brett Wiebelhaus, of Wynot, and Colman’s Deon Entringer both pitched into extra innings in their matchup on the mound. Wiebelhaus picked up the win, allowing one unearned run in 11 innings while Entringer took a no-decision after leaving after 10 innings. Redfield Dairy Queen’s Keith Gall also took a no-decision. He left after 11 innings and his team lost 5-2 in 12 innings.