The Sunshine League has held its own at the Class B state amateur baseball tournament.
And that might be an understatement.
The amateur baseball league features eight teams and plenty have had their fair share of success in the state tournament. The league has had a team win four of the last five state championships.
So what's the secret to the Sunshine League's success? District 5B and Sunshine League commissioner Bill Ernster said it's helped to have local talent stick with amateur baseball into adulthood.
"A lot of the towns-especially Parkston-they got a lot of local players that grew up here and are playing well," Ernster said.
He also pointed to the pitching the league, such as Alexandria's Trever Vermeulen and Tyson Gau and Parkston's Brady Nolz.
"For some reason, we get better pitching than we've ever had over the years," Ernster said. "A lot better pitching than we've ever had the last six, seven, eight years. We've never had pitching like this."
Then it's not a secret with Vermeulen, Gau and Nolz manning the mounds, that Alexandria and Parkston have been the cream of the crop for past few years.
The rest of the league is not far behind. The Winner/Colome Pheasants, the Dimock/Emery Raptors and the Mount Vernon Mustangs have all been successful in the state tournament, having varying levels of success.
Ernster said the other half of the league is catching up as well and they all feature young talent.
"Wagner, they were struggling all year for a win," Ernster said. "They never got any, but in a couple years now I think they are going to be pretty competitive the way it sounds. Every year, we got a lot of local talent coming back and they are all going to be pretty competitive. Even Platte has some young kids coming up. They are going to be tough down the road. Of course, Alexandria is always going to be tough with that pitching staff they have got. That's the way it's going to be."
Platte claimed the final Sunshine League tournament slot with a win over Corsica/Stickney on July 26. With the Killer Tomatoes in, the six qualifiers for the state tournament include Alexandria, Dimock/Emery, Mount Vernon, Parkston and Winner/Colome. And with most of the Sunshine League dotted around Mitchell, the state amateur tournament will always be filled with local fans.
"They follow each year, especially when it's in Mitchell," Ernster said. "The other towns come and watch their local Sunshine League teams play, which is good. That brings the fans to Cadwell Park."