If history is any guide, it will be another Renner Monarchs vs. Sioux Falls Brewers final in the Class A portion of the state amateur baseball tournament.
The two Class A rivals met in a 6-5 thriller last year and had a 1-0, 10-inning nailbiter in 2015, with the Monarchs winning both. Renner has won the last four straight state championships and has 19 overall. Last year marked the 14th straight time the Monarchs have been in the state championship game.
This season, Renner was ranked No. 1 in the final amateur baseball poll, while the Brewers were No. 2. Brookings and the Sioux Falls Saints were tied at No. 3, while the Castlewood Ravens and Aberdeen Circus Sports Bar were tied at No. 5.
The Class A tournament will be in Pierre on Aug. 4-6, before finishing up in Mitchell on Aug. 11-13. The Class A teams will play at Drake Field on Aug. 11 before playing at Cadwell Park on Aug. 12-13.
"Everybody likes and enjoys going to Mitchell," Class A commissioner Scott Healy said. "The first round is at a different site and we like to come together in that atmosphere with the B's. I think the crowds are a little bit more larger and things of that nature."
Class A has 15 teams and eight of those teams will make the first round of the state tournament in Pierre. The heart of the Class A comes from the Sioux Empire League, which features seven teams-Monarchs, Brewers, Vermillion Red Sox, Sioux Falls Flying Squirrels, Sioux Falls Saints, Brookings Cubs and the Brandon Valley Rats.
The eight teams that qualified for the double-elimination state tournament were determined through region play. Pierre received an automatic berth to the first round because it's the host team. The final six teams advance to Mitchell and will continue double-elimination play.
Healy, who is from Aberdeen, is in his fifth year as the Class A commissioner and said the current setup seems to be the best for the class. Class B plays a single-elimination format.
"The teams seem to like it and want to stay this way," he said. "We've played around with maybe bringing all the teams in or something and doing it that way, rather than just having eight, but so far, this has been working out."
Healy said one of the biggest challenges for Class A has been fielding teams. Mitchell no longer has a team and neither does Huron. The Sioux Falls area is holding its own, but Rapid City has just three teams-the Drillers, the Angels and the A's.
"Out west in Rapid City, we would like to hopefully add a few more teams," Healy said. "That's our goal is to try to keep amateur baseball going and promote it and stuff like that-just like the B's."