Donner, Danelson are early long-ball leaders at tourneyScot Donner and Landon Danelson know the difficulty of hitting home runs at Cadwell Park.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Scot Donner and Landon Danelson know the difficulty of hitting home runs at Cadwell Park.
During the 16 first-round games of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, there were seven home runs hit at Mitchell’s main, spacious baseball diamond. Donner and Danelson each had two long balls in first-round wins, accounting for more than half of the homers in the tournament.
“This is a sweet park, that’s for sure,” said Danelson, a right-handed hitter for Lennox who played four years of college baseball, two for Minnesota State University-Mankato. “There’s a lot of ground to cover here. Anything in the gap, you really want to be hustling out.”
Headed into the state tournament, several players, managers and fans questioned whether the amount of home runs would drop due to the change in bat regulations. Last year, players could use metal bats at state, and this year is the first time players are using only wooden bats.
“I was just trying to take good swings and hit balls in the gap,” Donner said.
Donner, a player for the defending state champion Crofton Blue Jays, went 4-for-5 against Garretson in the first round. He played college baseball at Iowa Western Community College and transferred for his last two years at University of Nebraska Omaha.
He wasn’t a home run hitter in college, he said.
“I was just a ‘hope to get a base hit’ guy,” said Donner, who had only one regular-season home run this summer. “I pitched two years at Iowa Western. Then my first year at UNO, I pitched and didn’t do very good. Then they moved me to shortstop.”
This is Danelson’s first year playing South Dakota amateur baseball. His homers came in his second and fourth at-bats against Miller/Wessington.
Danelson said he hit some home runs in college, but Thursday’s first-round game was the first time he ever played at Cadwell. Monday night, Danelson didn’t hit any homers in Lennox’s 3-1 win over Salem in the second round. He got to the field midway through the game, saying he had to work late. He picked up a speeding ticket on his way to the diamond.
Danelson went 0-for-1 and was put on base from an intentional walk in his first plate appearance.
Donner, who hit both of his first-round homers off fastballs, had two hits in his first two at-bats Monday night in Crofton’s blowout win over Larchwood, Iowa.
Now, Lennox and Crofton play in the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. Thursday at Cadwell Park.
Maybe Danelson and Donner will put on a home run show.
“I don’t really every expect to hit home runs in any at-bats,” Danelson said.
Other players who’ve hit home runs in the state tournament are Crofton’s Randy Thygeson, Tabor’s Chris Sutera and Salem’s Brian Duxbury.