Angels win first-ever title
SIOUX FALLS -- Butch Stoltz, of Alexandria, has only been to two state amateur championship games, and both times Tyson Gau came out victorious.
Sunday, Gau was the winning pitcher and hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to lift Alexandria to its first-ever Class B state amateur title, beating Winner/Colome 4-3.
"I've played and coached for 30-some years, so this is huge for me," Stoltz said. "We have good pickup players, but our homegrown guys are such great baseball players. In high school those guys won a lot of championships in several sports, so it's not really a shock to me. But it's fun to watch."
The first title for Gau came in 2010 when he pitched for Dimock/Emery in his first career amateur start. The core group of Alexandria players were on Hanson High School teams that won football titles in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 at the Class 9B and 9A levels.
This is the Angels' third season since the team took a five-year hiatus. Alexandria first formed an amateur team in 1980, according to Jerry Smith, who is a former player.
"It means a lot to everybody that's on the team, former players and family members," said Bob Schmig, an avid follower of the team.
This year, Schmig went to every home and away game with the exception of the season opener.
"I thought it was going to be a rain out, so I didn't go," said Schmig, who's been involved with Alexandria baseball since the early 1980s. "These guys are fun to watch. They're just a real tight-knit group of guys that like to play the game."
Last year, the Angels were knocked out of the tournament in the semifinals by eventual champion the Parkston Mudcats. Alexandria topped the Mudcats this time around, beating them 8-0 Saturday.
"It's an amazing feeling," Alexandria second baseman Cole Wenande said. "(Alexandria's) had a lot of good teams, so to be the first to win is a great accomplishment."