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GREGORY — In the big, high-powered offense of the Gregory Gorillas, it's one of the smallest players on the field that makes the most impact. Andy McCance enters his senior season at Gregory High School seeking to continue carrying the Gorillas through a strong run in Class 9AA football, with two titles in the last three seasons. The 5-foot-11 quarterback has only gotten better each season, now entering his third season under center for the Gorillas.
The Mitchell High School girls tennis team has a trait every athletic team is looking for: experience. The Kernels bring back their top three players from a season ago and that could set the table for a successful 2017 campaign in which Mitchell likely will contend for the Eastern South Dakota Conference title. MHS was 41 points behind Watertown in the conference tournament race a year ago, finishing with 308 points to the Arrows' 349. That's plenty of motivation in itself but Mitchell coach Pat Moller said his team is ready to take the next step.
GREGORY—In a crowded and talented Class 9AA field in 2016, the Gregory football team was doing most of the chasing. That will not be the case in 2017, as the defending state champion Gorillas are now in the sights of Class 9AA's best teams. Either way, the expectations are no different for the reigning Class 9AA champion Gorillas, who bring many key pieces back to a program that is expected to be a DakotaDome contender at season's end.
Kanin Nelson has come a long way in his short time on the football field at South Dakota State University. There's plenty more to be learned, as well, but the redshirt freshman is taking the knowledge from two spring practice seasons into his second fall camp and that's created a lot of confidence for the Mitchell native. "It's helped me a lot to learn the playbook and to make reads and check the coverage," Nelson said. "And it's more time to learn and meet the other guys on the team and get to know how they work."
Back-to-back. Retaining their role as the state's small-town baseball powerhouse, the Alexandria Angels won a second consecutive Class B state amateur baseball championship Sunday at Cadwell Park, knocking off Larchwood, Iowa 4-0 in the title game.
In the long-standing rivalry between the Renner Monarchs and the Sioux Falls Brewers, the series remains one-sided when it counts the most. Scoreless through seven innings, the four-time defending Class A state champions Renner made it five straight titles with one run each in the eighth and ninth innings for a 2-0 victory over the Brewers Sunday at Cadwell Park.
For a fifth straight year, the Alexandria Angels are headed to the Class B state amateur baseball championship game. And it took a pitching gem from ace Trever Vermeulen and scratching out a run in the middle of the night to send the state’s powerhouse back to the final.
For the first time in 39 years, the Larchwood, Iowa Diamonds will play for a South Dakota amateur baseball state baseball championship Sunday. Larchwood scored three times in the final two innings, including an RBI single from Travis Feekes to score Nick Meisinger for the eventual game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning to win 3-2 in the Class B state amateur baseball tournament semifinals Saturday at Cadwell Park. Larchwood (20-7) will face either Harrisburg or Alexandria in Sunday's Class B state championship game at 2 p.m. at Cadwell Park.
In amateur baseball, what's old is new once again. Specifically, the socks. The striped two-piece socks known as stirrups are making a bit of a comeback in big-league baseball and that has translated to the amateur game, as well. Nearly every team has at least one player wearing the old-style socks.
Aside from the switch back to wood bats, Jed Schmidt said he didn't notice much difference when the Legion baseball standout jumped to amateur baseball Friday for the Mount Vernon Mustangs. Schmidt — who had a 4-for-5 game, three RBIs and four stolen bases in an opening-round win over Redfield — is among a handful of Legion players who have adapted well to the South Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament at Cadwell Park this week.