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Parkston focused on title shot

Parkston’s Alex Scott throws the ball to first base in a game against Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Woonsocket on May 2 in Mount Vernon. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

PARKSTON — Things have gone as planned thus far for the undefeated Parkston spring high school baseball team in 2014, but coach Jeff Harris knows that one loss now will leave the team short of its final goal.

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“We are feeling loose and having fun right now,” Harris said of the team’s mindset heading into the season’s final day. “At this point in the season, every team is good and we have to be ready.”

Parkston carries a 16-0 record into the semifinals of the State B tournament against 11-0 St. Thomas More at 10 a.m. Monday at the Birdcage in Sioux Falls. The other semifinal will be contested between Madison and West Central 20 minutes after the Parkston’s game.

“I don’t know a whole lot about St. Thomas More, but I’ve heard they have a couple of strong left-handed pitchers,” Harris, who is in his first year as the head coach after serving as an assistant last year for Parkston, said. “We haven’t seen many lefties this year, so that will be a new challenge for us.”

Starting on the mound in the semifinal game will be Jacob Weber, who is 7-0 this season for Parkston. Weber has a 0.69 earned run average and 48 strikeouts in 39 innings of work.

Giving Parkston depth on the mound this season has been Dillon Stadlman and Zach Scott. Stadlman is 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 23 strikeouts, while scott has been used out of the bullpen, averaging over a strikeout per inning and has yet to yield a run.

On offense, Parkston sports a trio of hitters with a batting average at or north of .400. Scott is hitting .410 and is tied for the team lead in RBIS with 14.

Ty Kinneberg and Spencer Lucas are each averaging .400. Kinneberg has 14 stolen bases, while Lucas has driven in 13 runs.

Adding to the Parkston lineup has been Weber with 14 RBIs and Stadlman with a team-high 19 stolen bases.

Causing chaos on the basepaths has been a staple of the Parkston team this season, with a combined 67 stolen bases, or more than four per game.

“The players at this level are still young enough where added pressure by baserunners can cause mistakes,” Harris said. “Our team is quick and smart on the bases and we look to take advantage of that as much as we can.”

Parkston has outscored its opponents by 93 runs this season, with strong pitching, solid defense and a deep lineup coming together.

If Parkston wins its semifinal, its will play the winner of Madison and West Central in the final game on Memorial Day. There will be a third place game prior to the final.