Bon Homme/Scotland conquers Class B, tops West Central for state title
SIOUX FALLS—Bon Homme/Scotland weathered a rain delay and a West Central rally to win its first Class B state high school baseball championship since 2011 on Tuesday.
After a lengthy rain delay, Bon Homme/Scotland poured on seven runs and held off a furious surge for a 7-5 win in the state title at Sioux Falls Stadium.
"We just stayed calm," BH/S junior Joey Slama said. "We knew if we executed, we would be fine."
Bon Homme/Scotland (13-4) went to pitcher Bryce Scieszinski in the title tilt and the 6-foot-4 senior right-hander delivered. He pitched four scoreless innings, struck out four batters and scattered seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Offensively, Scieszinski went 2-for-4 and drove in a run.
"He threw really well," Bon Homme/Scotland coach Gary Kortan said. "For a senior, he's been waiting for this opportunity and he did his job."
But Scieszinski was taken off the mound due to the 105 pitch-count rule in the sixth inning. Bon Homme/Scotland went to relievers Josh Schmidt, Zach Cuka and Trent Herrboldt, who closed out the game in the seventh inning.
"I had confidence in everyone who came up and threw after me," Scieszinski said. "We are a team that stays together no matter what."
With the bases loaded and two outs, Herrboldt struck out Carter Healy—who finished 3-for-5—to end the game and he was immediately mobbed by his teammates.
"It was great," Herrboldt said. "I didn't really have a moment to do anything because they were all on me, but it was pretty great."
After the 1-hour, 10-minute rain delay, Bon Homme/Scotland tacked on three runs to take a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Slama cracked a two-run double and Scieszinski followed with a two-out RBI double to make it 4-0.
"We have been taught to be aggressive all year no matter what and we got on them early and that really helped us out," Scieszinski said.
It also gave Scieszinski confidence at the mound.
"It gives me a great confidence boost, for sure," Scieszinski said about working with a lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, West Central (14-2) put runners on first and second with two outs, but Brandon McKnight flew out first baseman John Kubal to end the threat.
In the top of the fifth, Christian Uecker skied a deep fly ball to left field for an RBI double. Scieszinski brought him home with an RBI single for a 6-0 advantage.
"We knew with the pitch count coming into play, we felt their good guys were already used up and we needed to score some runs today," Kortan said. "Luckily, we did and just enough to hold them off."
Scieszinski later scored from third base on a throwing error by West Central to make it 7-0.
"It gave us all the confidence in the world," Slama said about the early lead. "We just executed our calls by Gary and just hit the ball hard."
In the bottom of the fifth, the Trojans scored their first runs on two-straight RBI singles by Kadyn Nolz and Cooper Maras to cut it to 7-2. In the sixth, West Central plated two more runs to make it 7-4 and it added another run in the seventh before Herrboldt closed the door.
West Central's Broc Holdeman took the loss. He gave up five hits, seven runs and struck out five batters.
BH/S ousts Redfield Area
SIOUX FALLS—Early offense and Mace Merkwan's pitching propelled Bon Homme/Scotland into the Class B state tournament championship game. Bon Homme/Scotland knocked off Redfield Area 7-3 in the semifinals at the Sioux Falls Stadium. Against Redfield Area, Merkwan struck out nine batters in 5 2/3 innings.
"He's had a really good year for us," Bon Homme/Scotland coach Gary Kortan said. "He's coming off two ACL surgeries. We finally got him back this year. He throws hard. He's got good stuff. It's just a matter of if he can throw enough strikes and today he was really pretty good again."
Merkwan received a boost from Bon Homme/Scotland's bats. Bon Homme/Scotland scored five runs in the first two innings, including four with two outs.
"It gives me a big boost," Merkwan said. "It is 10 times easier to pitch out there when you have a 5-0 lead like that. I just have to thank the sticks for getting us there."
In the first inning, Bryce Scieszinski ripped a two-out RBI double down the left field line and Beau Rothschadl followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead. In the second inning, Tanner Van Driel had an RBI groundout, while Joey Slama and Christian Uecker hit back-to-back two-out RBI singles for a 5-0 lead.
"We executed hit and run perfect," Kortan said about his team's offense. "We stole when we needed to and we laid down a beautiful bunt for a hit that inning to leadoff the second and those are all big plays. Our offense is probably the best it's been in a while."
Redfield Area got on the board with two runs in the third. In the fourth, Slama had an RBI groundout and Scieszinski later scored in the fifth inning on a stolen base from third base.
West Central 7, Lennox 0
West Central received hits from eight different players as it defeated Lennox in the other semifinal of the Class B state tournament on Tuesday.
Broc Haldeman and Carter Healy had two hits apiece to pace the offense, while Miles Mutziger gave up just two hits in the shutout. He struck out two batters.
Devon Garry, Kadyn Nolz, Cooper Maras and Luke Sebert each drove in a run, while Brandon McKnight added a hit.
For Lennox, Holden Wagner and Tyson Stoebner each had a hit. J.D. Kirchner took the loss, giving up four earned runs, scattering six hits and striking out four batters.