It's amateur baseball state tournament time once again in Mitchell.
Here's a short look at each of the 32 Class B amateur baseball teams in the state tournament, which begins Wednesday at Cadwell Park and runs through the championship game Aug. 13.
Winner/Colome made a run to the quarterfinals last season and is seeking more of a strong finish in the Sunshine League and District 5B tournament.
The Pheasants (15-8) have a diverse offensive attack, led by Derek Graesser, Lakin Neugebauer, Zach Harter, Reed Harter, Austin Calhoon, Austin Richey, Dillon Lambley and Geno Katz.
Graesser, Drew Weber, Tarrell Bauld, and Jared Donahue lead the pitching staff. The 2009 Class B tournament MVP for Canova, Donahue is in his first season with the Pheasants.
Winner/Colome was responsible for defending champion Alexandria's lone loss of the season, a 5-4 victory at Leahy Bowl on May 26. W/C last made the Class B championship game in 2013, falling to the Angels.
The Pheasants - in their ninth straight state tournament - open in the lead-off game, a 5:30 p.m. contest Wednesday against Dell Rapids PBR.
Dell Rapids PBR
Despite a tough seed for a second straight year in the District 4B playoffs, Dell Rapids PBR managed to squeeze its way into the Class B tournament in 2017. After a 1-13 Cornbelt finish, PBR was the last-place finisher in the Cornbelt League prior to the district tournament in Madison and took a 10-3 loss to the crosstown rival Dell Rapids Mudcats in the first round. But PBR knocked off fourth-seeded Hartford/Humboldt 6-5 on July 27 to avoid elimination and after being sent to the last-chance game after a loss to Salem on July 28, defeated the No. 2 seed Colman 8-6 on July 29. PBR's only regular-season league win was a 2-1 victory at Flandreau on June 25.
In the district tournament, Weston Hansen hit .471 with a home run and four RBIs for PBR, while Kevin Krull, Wyatt Winklepleck and Zane Schumacher all drove in three runs. Bruce Mogen had 13 strikeouts in a complete game win over Hartford/Humboldt in the tournament, as eight different pitchers took the hill in the four games. One of those pitchers, Mogen's son, Brett, pitched at South Dakota State last spring and played earlier this summer with Dell Rapids' state-qualifying Legion club.
PBR managed to pull off a state upset in the first round a year ago, knocking off Larchwood (Iowa) 4-2 in the opening round, before falling to eventual state runner-up Garretson 7-1 in the Round of 16.
PBR will face Winner/Colome in the tournament opener at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Vermillion makes a second consecutive state tournament appearance after missing four straight years. The Greysox fell to Parkston in the state opener in 2016 5-0 at Cadwell Park.
Vermillion was the fourth-place finishers in the State Line League, racking up a 9-5 record. After a 6-2 win over Akron, Iowa, the Greysox fell 9-1 to Garretson in the semifinals, setting up a winner-to-state game with Beresford on July 27, which Vermillion won 6-4.
Alex Mogensen had a complete-game, four hitter in the district playoff opener against Akron. He's joined by Josh Lucken, Tanner Anderson, Mike Moran, Jay Thaler, Steve Fejfar and Colin Bertram as key players for the Greysox.
Vermillion will take on Clark in the second game of the tournament, the 7:30 p.m. game Wednesday against the Traders.
One of the northeast part of the state's most consistent teams, Clark has made trips to Cadwell Park a regular tradition. They've qualified for every state tournament since 2004 and make this year's trip as the champions of District 1B.
The Traders (16-5) finished the regular season at 13-3 in the Eastern Dakota League. As the top seed in the league, they had a first-round bye in the seven-team league and then defeated Clear Lake 6-0 in the semifinals prior to their championship game with Milbank. In that game with the Firechiefs, Zach Toben pitched a complete-game five-hitter in a 2-1 triumph.
Andrew Wegner had a shutout in the victory over Clear Lake and Kyle Braun had four hits in the tournament, as Braun and Toben each hit home runs and drove in two runs in the two tournament wins.
The Traders, who made the 2014 state semifinals, bowed out in the first round of the state tournament a year ago, taking a 5-2 loss to Colman in the first round.
This year, Clark has a date with the Vermillion Grey Sox at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the opening round.
Miller/Wessington pulled out the final Pony Hills League spot in the Class B state tournament, claiming the last-chance slot in the three-bid league.
After a loss to Plankinton in the District 3B semifinals, the Outlaws (9-13) defeated Kimball/White Lake 6-5 in the last-chance game on their home field. The victory advanced the Outlaws to the state tournament for the first time since 2014, which was the last of five straight appearances.
On offense, Casey Schlechter leads the team, hitting. 432 with four home runs and 22 runs driven in. Dave Jensen is hitting .378 with 10 RBIs, along with Engles Perez, who is hitting .333 with 10 RBIs.
Schlechter and Cody Cotton are the primary starters for Miller, with Schlechter carrying a 4-5 record with a 5.03 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings. Cotton has tossed 60 innings with a 3-5 record with 77 strikeouts and a 3.13 ERA.
Miller/Wessington will play the Thursday opener, an 11 a.m. contest against Lake Norden.
Lake Norden Lakers
The Lakers will make their seventh straight appearance at the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, following a 13-8 win July 29 over Clear Lake in the District 1B last-chance game on their home field. Eight days prior, Clear Lake beat Lake Norden by the same score in the first round and an elimination game victory by the Lakers 6-3 set up the rematch with the Slough Sharks.
Lake Norden was paced by its offense at districts, scoring 27 runs in three games. Jesse VanOverbeke was 6-for-11 with 10 runs scored and Matt Stevenson had two home runs and had nine RBIs. Mick Tulson had six RBIs and former Corsica/Stickney player Justin Downes knocked in four.
Jordon Johnson threw 14 innings in three appearances in the district tournament, striking out 22 batters with a 2.57 ERA. Stevenson and Downes also threw, with Stevenson earning the other victory and striking out nine.
Lake Norden will face Miller/Wessington at 11 a.m. Thursday in the first round.
Wynot (Neb.) Expos
If it were up to Wynot, they'd like to pick up right where they left off the last time they made the Class B state tournament in 2014. That was when they defeated Lennox, Akron (Iowa), Irene, Clark and Alexandria to claim the state championship at Cadwell Park, the team's first since 1999.
After a 7-9 regular season in the South Central League, the Expos claimed one of the final slots in the District 6B tournament. After a first-round loss to Tabor 11-1, the sixth-seeded Expos bounced back to topple No. 2 seed Menno 7-6, eliminating the Mad Frogs from state contention.
Lee Heimes and Devon Lammers are among the key players for Wynot, along with Jackson Sudbeck and Chase Rolfes. Scott Morrison, Brett Wiebelhaus, Trevor Gardner and Heimes help with the pitching.
Wynot will play the second contest at Cadwell Park on Thursday, a 1 p.m. contest against Garretson.
Garretson Blue Jays
Garretson enters the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the field, winners of their last 10 games with a record of 19-3, including a District 7B championship game victory against Harrisburg.
The Blue Jays have just three losses on the season, one each to Vermillion and Harrisburg and a 6-5 loss to Dimock-Emery on June 22 at Cadwell Park.
Garretson is paced by former Sioux Falls Brewer Nick Bruning, who is hitting .483 on the season and Austin Vanhove is hitting .436. Sam Johnson (.396) and Dustin Steckler (.373) are each hitting above .370, as well, while Nick Bonte has drove in a team-best 16 runs.
Former Dakota Wesleyan pitchers Dustin Steckler and Patrick Whetham, along with former University of Sioux Falls right-hander Derek Fischer have created a three-pronged powerhouse in the Blue Jays' rotation. Fischer has thrown 42 innings with 59 strikeouts and a 0.43 ERA, while Whetham has 60 strikeouts in 41 innings and a 1.98 ERA and Steckler has a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings.
Garretson, which made a run to the championship in 2016 and lost to Alexandria, defeated Irene, Dell Rapids PBR, Winner/Colome and the Dell Rapids Mudcats to reach the final, winning twice by one run. This will be their ninth straight appearance in the state tournament.
Garretson has drawn Wynot (Neb.) in the first round of the state tournament at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Freeman Black Sox
The Black Sox (12-15) punched their return trip to the state tournament with a 9-0 win over Scotland on July 23 in an elimination game. Freeman then fell 7-0 to Lesterville in a district-placement game July 27.
Brett Scherschligt, who was the 2014 Class B MVP as a pickup player for Wynot (Neb.), is the team's leading hitter, batting .357 with a .521 on-base percentage. He has driven in a team-best 16 runs, including four home runs. Kyle Weier is hitting .340 with with 14 RBIs and Eric Hortness is hitting .318 on the year.
Hortness is pacing the pitching staff, with 54 innings pitched and a 4-3 record and a 2.00 ERA. Scherschligt has thrown 52 2/3 innings, with a 3.42 ERA and Allan Scherschligt (2.05 ERA in 44 innings pitched) and Nate Broehm (37 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings) are other key arms.
The Black Sox defeated the Castlewood Monarchs 9-2 in the first round of last year's tournament before falling Alexandria 9-2 in the Round of 16.
Freeman (12-15), which is in its third straight state tournament, will face Milbank at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the opening round.
Milbank (11-8) returns to the state tournament for the eighth straight season, after finishing second among the Eastern Dakota League's Class B teams. Milbank was also second in District 1B, falling in the championship game to Clark 2-1.
In the district tournament, both Jesse Krause and Lance Frogner were 4-for-9, with Frogner knocking in three of Milbank's seven runs in the tournament. Frogner hit .491 during the regular season, while Brady Krause was a .373 hitter and Taylor Boerger hit .357.
On the mound, Taylor Boerger threw almost the entire tournament, with the former Dakota State right-hander logging 16 2/3 innings with 26 strikeouts, and a 3.78 ERA. His brother, Dominique, pitched for Dakota Wesleyan as a freshman last spring and Boerger helped Milbank Post 9 reach the Class B state Legion tournament earlier this year. Brady Krause had a 2.89 ERA in 37 1/3 innings for the season and had a team-high four wins.
The Firechiefs dropped their state opener in 2016, a 15-3 loss in eight innings to Kimball/White Lake. This year, Milbank will face Freeman at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in an opening-round matchup at Cadwell Park.
Larchwood (Iowa) Diamonds
One of the most consistent out-of-state teams, Larchwood (16-7) returns to the state tournament once more, as the Diamonds have made it each year since 2004. Larchwood was the No. 3 finisher in the State Line League and brought home the same finish in the District 6B tournament, as well. The Diamonds were toppled 4-2 in the first round of the 2016 by Dell Rapids PBR.
Larchwood is led offensively by former Northwestern player Micah Linn, who hit. 423 and had eight home runs, 24 RBIs and 31 runs scored. Mitch Peschon, also a former Red Raider, is also hitting above .400 at .417 with 17 RBIs and Kyle Van Voorst is hitting .361 with 17 runs driven in.
Former Dordt standout and current assistant coach Patrick Sinnema is the leading pitcher, with a 6-1 record in 46 innings, 70 strikeouts and a 1.17 ERA. Jon Van Beek has thrown 35 1/3 innings with a 2.80 ERA and 35 strikeouts and Dylan Whalen is 4-0 in 30 1/3 innings with a 1.48 ERA as major arms for the Diamonds.
Larchwood will take on Plankinton in its tournament opener at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Plankinton (20-7) claimed the District 3B championship with a 4-2 victory over Four Corners in Miller on July 26. The Bankers tied for the Pony Hills League regular-season title at 13-2 and took the No. 2 seed into the district tournament.
The Bankers have bolstered their offensive prowess with the addition of former Dakota Wesleyan standout Tyler Waddle, who has hit .543 in 13 games with five home runs and 27 RBIs. Chris Hill has hit .400 with 32 RBIs and 29 runs scored, both team highs. Billy Hamilton is hitting .362 with 26 runs scored, as well.
Former Dimock/Emery pitcher Josh Engquist has emerged as a formidable starter alongside Travis Gant. Engquist-who had 15 strikeouts in the district title game-is 6-1 in 71 2/3 innings and 91 strikeouts with a 2.51 ERA. Gant has thrown 60 innings and is 6-2, with 77 strikeouts and 2.55 ERA.
Plankinton reached the quarterfinals last season, defeating Lake Norden and Groton before falling 6-3 to Alexandria.
The Bankers will face Larchwood at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round.
The Irene Cardinals got back to the state tournament in 2016 after a rare year off in 2015 and locked up another trip during this year's District 6B playoffs, clinching their spot with a 5-4 win over Freeman in the first round. They had an 11-1 loss to Crofton in the semifinals before rallying with an 11-10 win over Wynot for state placement in District 6B.
Irene was one of four teams in the SCL to finish at 8-8 on the season but finished with wins in seven of their last 10 games, including the district playoffs.
George Sees, Ryan Lees, Simon Healy and Alex Loes are among the Cardinals' leading hitters, while Lees and Healy have been key to the team's pitching staff.
The Cardinals bowed out in the first round of the Class B tournament last season, dropping a 3-2 contest to Garretson.
Irene will take on the Merchants from Northville in the opening round at 11 a.m. Friday.
Hailing from Spink County, the Merchants return to the Class B state tournament for a fourth straight year. Northville was one of two qualifiers from the three-team District 2B tournament, which included Redfield, Northville and Groton. The Merchants defeated Redfield in an elimination game 10-6 on July 28 to clinch their spot, before falling in the title game 15-0 to Redfield.
A.J. Overby and Clayton Nutting are among the leading hitters for Northville, while Eric Peterson, Nutting and Bryan Weber are the key arms on the mound for the Merchants.
Winner/Colome pounded the Merchants in the state opener a year ago, an 18-1 game decided in five innings.
Northville and Irene will tangle in the opening first-round game Friday, an 11 a.m. start at Cadwell Park.
Mount Vernon Mustangs
The Mustangs made it back-to-back state tournament appearances on the back of a 10-0 elimination round victory over Wagner on July 25 in the District 5B playoffs.
Mount Vernon (16-9) was the fifth-place team in the Sunshine League this season with an 8-6 record. A year ago, the Mustangs took down District 4B champion Howard/Canova in the opening round of state in a 10-9, 10-inning win. Crofton took out the Mustangs in the second round in a 9-6 win.
Offensively, Matt Larson, Chase Hetland, Zac Custer and Cameron Deinert lead the Mustangs at the plate. Mount Vernon's ace is Mount Marty pitcher Deric Denning, while Nick Honke and Larson are also key arms for the Mustangs. The Mustangs will also pickup Mitchell Post 18 Legion players Jed Schmidt, Sam Michels and Spencer Neugebauer for the postseason.
Redfield and Mount Vernon played each other earlier this season, with the Mustangs winning 5-3 in Redfield June 1. Jake Steffen earned the win in relief and had three hits in the win. The Mustangs will face Redfield in the first round at 1 p.m. Friday at Cadwell Park.
Redfield returns to the state amateur tournament on the back of a 15-0, six-inning District 2B championship game victory over Northville on July 28. The Pheasants were the top team in the Northern Plains League, as well.
Christian Christianson, Elliott Millar and Tommy Gregg are among the key arms for Redfield, while Sutton Masat, Drew Dickhaut, Mitch Babcock and Jared Kuehn led the Pheasant attack on offense.
Due to its location and small league, Redfield has played many area teams this season. The Pheasants took down Miller 9-6 on May 13, while dropping a 15-10 home decision to the Parkston Mudcats July 1 and lost 10-3 to Alexandria in Redfield July 16.
In the 2016 state tournament, Redfield defeated now-defunct Armour 7-2 in the opener, followed by a 7-1 loss to the Parkston Mudcats
Redfield also dropped a 5-3 decision June 1 against Mount Vernon, which is their first round opponent at state, playing at 1 p.m. Friday.
The 2012 and 2015 Class B state champions, Parkston returns to the state tournament looking to add to its trophy case. The Mudcats were the No. 4 finishers in the Sunshine League and claimed the same seed in the District 5B tournament, locking down their state berth in the opening round with a 1-0 win over Mount Vernon.
Ty Kinneberg is Parkston's leading hitter, batting .468 for the season in 17 games. Jeff Harris is hitting .403 and has played in every game this season, with a team-leading five home runs and 29 RBIs. Dan Bonte is hitting .382, Matt Malloy had 32 runs scored and four homers and William Lutjen, who played his senior season at Dakota Wesleyan last spring, has driven in 20 runs.
On the mound, the Mudcats continue to be led by Brady Nolz, who has 123 strikeouts in 96 innings with a 6-4 record and a 2.06 ERA. Jake Weber has thrown 71 innings and has a 8-1 mark on the season with 66 strikeouts and a 1.64 ERA. DWU pitcher Dillon Stadlman has a 2.70 ERA in 30 innings.
Parkston (21-10) and Harrisburg will play at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Cadwell Park in the first round and the two teams are familiar with each other, having already played a home-and-home this season. Parkston won 11-1 May 10 at The Pond, while Harrisburg answered with a 5-2 win June 23 in Harrisburg.
Harrisburg returns to the state tournament riding a strong finish in the State Line League and District 7B. The Woodies finished at 16-5 after a 10-9, 10-inning loss to Garretson in the District 7B championship game on July 29.
Former Dakota State pitcher Drew Sweeter and former Wichita State pitcher Aaron LaBrie give Harrisburg a solid 1-2 punch in the rotation. LaBrie had 15 strikeouts in the Woodies' win over Larchwood in the district semifinals to send Harrisburg to the state tournament and has a 0.83 ERA in 43 1/3 innings with 87 strikeouts. Sweeter, who is 6-0 this season, has thrown 40 2/3 innings and a 1.55 ERA.
At the plate, LaBrie is hitting .476, while Sweeter is hitting .471. Brody Kunzmann has a team-best 18 RBIs with a .418 average and Dalton Allen has hit three home runs with a .413 mark.
The Woodies played in the first game at state last season, falling 7-2 to Dimock/Emery in the opening round. Harrisburg will take on another Sunshine League opponent in the first round this season, a 5:30 p.m. game Friday against Parkston. If Harrisburg and Beresford both win their first round games and play Tuesday, the Woodies would have the upper hand as they swept the season series with wins of 8-2 and 4-2.
One year ago, Beresford only won one game in the State Line League and finished dead last in the State Line League. This season, they'll be in the state amateur baseball tournament, after claiming one of the final berths out of the State Line League and District 7B.
The Blues were the sixth-place team in the State Line in the regular season, finishing 6-10. In the district tournament, Beresford fell to Larchwood in the first round before topping Canton 12-2. A loss to Vermillion 6-4 sent them to the last-chance game against first-year club Alcester, and the Blues pounded the Zips, 10-0 in seven innings.
Beresford cracked a lengthy tournament drought in 2014 and fell in the first round to Plankinton 10-4. This year, The Blues will battle with Tabor in the first round at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Bluebirds weren't just satisfied to make the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, instead winning three straight in the District 6B tournament and claiming the title with a 15-13 victory over top-seeded and district host Crofton (Neb.) on July 29. Tabor was seeded third heading into the District 6B tournament.
Cole Uecker, a pickup player from Tabor's Legion team, was named the tournament MVP with a 5-for-11 performance, including a key grand slam in the title game. Uecker will play at Mount Marty next spring. Fellow Lancer player Hunter Hallock, Jason Humpal, Rob Keppen and Dakota State player Zach Sutera are the other key bats for the 'Birds. On the mound, Hallock, Logan Tycz and Ross Kortan have been the primary pitchers. Tabor also picked up Menno pitcher Macon Oplinger for the state tournament, as well.
Tabor was in the 2016 state tournament and bowed out in the first round, falling to Four Corners in a memorable game that ended with four consecutive hit batsmen, allowing Four Corners to rally in the bottom of the ninth 4-3.
Tabor will battle Beresford in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cadwell Park.
Crofton (Neb.) Blue Jays
As an out-of-state team, Crofton has cemented itself as one of the teams to watch each year at the Class B state amateur baseball tournament. The Blue Jays won the South Central League by three games with a 14-2 record but took second place to Tabor in the District 6B final.
Crofton is led at the plate by Rand Thygeson, Scot Donner, Nick Hegge and Tyler Zimmerman. Ben Hegge, Thygeson and Donner are among the primary pitching options.
Crofton reached the 2016 semifinals, thanks to wins over Volga, Mount Vernon and Colman before bowing out to Alexandria 7-2. The Jays made three straight state title games from 2010 to 2012, winning the 2011 title over Tabor 11-8.
Crofton already has a win at Cadwell Park under its belt this season, topping Winner/Colome 11-10 on July 7. The Blue Jays will take on Salem in Saturday's opening game, an 11 a.m. contest with the Cubs at Cadwell Park.
In the 2016 District 4B tournament, Dell Rapids PBR knocked off Salem in the last-chance game to keep the Cubs out of the state tournament. On July 28, the Cubs got some revenge, defeating PBR 6-4 and clinching their own return trip to state in Mitchell.
The Cubs (7-17) are led offensively by Cole Cheeseman, who is hitting .374 and has 22 RBIs and 19 runs scored, both team-highs. Dakota Wesleyan University football standout Luke Loudenburg is hitting .383, with 14 runs scored, while David Novak and Steve Mehlbrech are both .300-plus hitters with 13 RBIs this season.
On the mound, Dakota State product Garrison Collier has thrown 31 innings and has 39 strikeouts and a 4.35 ERA. Tyler Earls has thrown 43 2/3 innings with 34 strikeouts and a 4.32 ERA and Loudenburg has tossed his way to a 3.72 ERA in 29 innings.
At state for the first time since 2013, Salem will face Crofton (Neb.) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the opening round. The two teams played twice this season already, with the Blue Jays winning both times, including a 14-12 win May 11 in Crofton and a 4-0, seven-inning contest in Salem on June 17.
One of the area's state tournament regulars, the Dimock-Emery Raptors were third in the Sunshine League during the regular season and finished in the same slot in the District 5B tournament. The Raptors (14-10) claimed that position with a 7-6, 10-inning win in the District 5B tournament over Mount Vernon on July 27.
Veteran Phil Johnson is D/E's leading hitter, batting .455 with six home runs and 19 RBIs. Jared Schmidt is hitting .412 with 18 RBIs and Jason Schmidt hit .411 with 19 knocked in and a team-best 27 walks.
On the mound, the Raptors are led by Johnson, who threw more than 70 innings with 67 strikeouts and a 3.43 ERA. Jared Schmidt has also thrown 60-plus innings, with a 2.18 ERA for the Raptors.
Making its 11th straight state appearance, Dimock/Emery will face the Dell Rapids Mudcats for a second consecutive season in the state tournament. The two teams played in the second round in 2016, which was a 5-2 Mudcats win. This year, the game will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cadwell Park.
Dell Rapids Mudcats
The top team throughout the Cornbelt League schedule claimed the top spot in the District 4B playoffs, as the Mudcats from Dell Rapids won three straight.
Dell Rapids was 12-2 in the regular season in the Cornbelt, only dropping league games at Humboldt/Hartford and at Madison. In the district playoffs, the Mudcats defeated Dell Rapids PBR and Flandreau by a combined score of 23-6 and then eked out a 13-12 win over Madison, the second-seeded team in the district.
Offensively, Chad Hunt was 7-for-12 with five runs scored in the district round, and Jimmy Bauer added seven hits and seven runs scored for the Mudcats. Grant Olson hit .545 and drove in five runs and Nate Henry finished with seven RBIs for the tournament. Trevor Freudenthal, a Parkston native, has made the move to the other Mudcats this season and drove in five runs in three games.
On the mound, Colin Karst recorded 11 strikeouts in 10 innings and Jared Hegdahl allowed two earned runs in nine innings on the mound.
Dell Rapids reached the semifinals last season, defeating Menno, Dimock/Emery and the Parkston Mudcats before falling 7-4 to Garretson.
The Mudcats will face the Raptors from Dimock/Emery for the second time in as many years in the state tournament, playing a 1 p.m. game Saturday in the first round. The Mudcats won last year's game 3-1.
After more than a decade out of the state tournament fold, the Aces made it to Mitchell last season and did not have to wait long to return, clinching a spot in the District 7B last-chance round.
The Aces were the No. 7 finisher in the State Line League with a 5-11 league record in the regular season and dropped their opening game to Canton 12-3. The Aces then answered with a 4-3 win over Lennox before falling to Beresford 12-2, sending the, to the last-chance game against tournament stalwart Akron, Iowa. There, Canton edged Akron 5-4 July 29 to book the trip to Mitchell.
Tyler Maxwell is among the standout pitchers for Canton, as he had 11 strikeouts in the win over Lennox, along with Jake Roskam. Thad Meister, Dillon Schenkel and Nick Sehr are among the leading hitters for the Aces.
Last year, Canton played Groton in the final first-round game and fell 6-0. Canton meets Platte in the first round at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Platte Killer Tomatoes
After a one-year hiatus from the Class B state tournament, Platte returns to Cadwell Park after claiming the last of six spots from the Sunshine League. In 2015, the Killer Tomatoes reached the quarterfinals, defeating Webster and Wessington Springs before falling 3-0 to Alexandria.
Platte snared its spot in the state tournament with a 9-4 win over Corsica/Stickney in the elimination round of the District 5B tournament.
On the mound, Richard Sternberg is Platte's ace, with Hayden Kuiper and Michael Buitenbos also throwing important innings. Sternberg was part of Alexandria's championship run in 2016 as a pickup player. At the plate, the Killer Tomatoes have gotten a key offensive boost in the postseason from Riley Hoffman, who was a standout for the Platte/Geddes Legion club, picked up six hits in Platte's final two district playoff games and was named District 5B's big stick. Other offensive leaders, include Ryan Allen, Jon Hoeksema, Kuiper, Sternberg and Nate Spawn.
Platte (7-12) will take on Canton at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the first round.
Flandreau clinched its fifth straight state tournament appearance with a win over Colman July 28 in Madison, a 9-7 decision in favor of the Cardinals.
The Cardinals were the fifth-place finishers in the Cornbelt League, finishing at 7-7 in league play. They won their district opener 8-3 over Hartford/Humboldt, before falling to the Dell Rapids Mudcats 13-3, setting up the play-in game against Colman.
Platte native Keith Cutler hit two home runs in the district tournament for the Cardinals, while Beau Severtson hit .545 and current South Dakota State University baseball player Thomas McMacken hit .364 in the tournament.
On the mound, Zach Weinandt, a former Augustana pitcher, started twice in the district tournament and threw 11 2/3 innings. Former Sioux Falls Canaries pitcher Bret Severson, who is also the team's manager, is also a key arm for the Cardinals.
Flandreau drew the eventual state champions Alexandria in the first round a year ago, dropping a 6-3 decision. In this year's state tournament, the Cardinals will face the Angels once again on Saturday night, at 7:30 p.m. in the first round.
At the top of the list of favorites in this year's field, Alexandria (22-1) looks to continue a strong run of recent success in the state tournament. The Angels won the 2016 Class B title 7-1 over Garretson in their fourth consecutive state championship game appearance, winning the 2013 title and appearing in the 2014 and 2015 finales.
Off a 28-0 season in 2016, the Angels have won 50 of 51 games over the last two seasons and have yet to lose East of the Missouri River. The Angels fell to Winner/Colome 5-4 on May 26 in Winner. Alexandria went on to top Winner/Colome in the District 5B championship game 4-3 on July 28.
They're paced by the strong pitching duo of Trever Vermeulen and Tyson Gau. Vermeulen has thrown 65 innings and is 8-0 this season, with 77 strikeouts and a 1.52 ERA, while Gau holds a 1.89 ERA with a 5-0 mark in 52 1/3 innings with 60 strikeouts. His brother, Jordan Gau, has a 0.89 ERA in 40 1/3 innings.
Offensively, Jordan Gau leads the team in hitting at .467, while Cole Wenande has driven in 34 runs on the year.
Alexandria will play Flandreau in the first round at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a second consecutive year. The two teams played in the exact same time slot in 2016, with Alexandria winning 6-3.
After a one-year hiatus, the Madison Broncos are back in the Class B tournament, looking to continue their hot play from the District 4B tournament.
The Broncos (14-6) defeated Canova and Salem to reach the district final and nearly knocked off top-seeded Dell Rapids, dropping a shootout 13-12.
Brian Miller is the team's leader in batting average (.413) and RBIs (22). Greg Biagi hit .360 during the regular season. Former state tournament batting champion Matt Burpee is hitting .317 with 18 RBIs and Heith Williams has scored a team-best 23 runs. Burpee had two doubles and a home run in the district final.
Three pitchers have split the bulk of Madison's innings on the mound, with Chris Brozik throwing 31 2/3 innings with a 1.71 ERA, while Brady Banse has tossed 39 strikeouts in 29 innings for a 3.10 ERA. Nick Bird has thrown 19 innings with a 1.42 ERA, and Mitch McNary has a 0.75 ERA in 12 relief innings.
It will be an all equine-themed matchup at 11 a.m. Sunday in the opening round as the Broncos face the Broncs from Lesterville.
The Broncs are back in the Class B tournament for the first time since 2013, when they defeated the Parkston Rock Bass in opener and fell to Winner/Colome in the second round. Lesterville was the seventh-place team in the South Central League (7-9) during the season but clinched its spot in the state tournament with an upset win over second-seeded Menno 3-1. Pitcher Dave Schmidt threw a complete game, striking out eight in the victory. Schmidt is also among Lesterville's leading hitters, along with Cameron Schlitz. Ian Powell, Cameron Schlitz, Andy Gall and Tyler Edler are key players for Lesterville, as well, which saw a four-win improvement in the SCL over last year's 3-13 campaign.
Lesterville drew Madison in the first round, an 11 a.m. game Sunday.
For a second straight year, the No. 6 seed in the District 1B playoffs served Castlewood well, as the Monarchs managed to claim at a state tournament slot on July 28.
The Monarchs (9-11) knocked off third-seeded Volga in the first round 10-6 and then took a 6-5 loss to Milbank in the semifinals before defeating Clear Lake 5-3 to advance to the state bracket.
Offensively, Josh Cleveland has driven in 18 RBIs, while Jacob Tvedt is hitting . 388 with 17 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a team-high 22 runs scored. Tvedt is one of four Monarchs pitchers with at least 23 innings pitched on the year, with a 3.71 ERA. Jackson Feyerisen has a 3.08 ERA in 23 innings, while Grant Fodness (25 innings) and Chris Lather (24 1/3) will also be possible pitching options.
The Monarchs dropped a 9-2 decision to Freeman in the first round in 2016 and will play the final first-round game of the 2017 tournament against Four Corners at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Four Corners (16-8) makes its third straight state tournament appearance and its second straight as Pony Hills League champions, coming off a 13-2 league slate. Plankinton finished with the same record but Four Corners won two of the three regular season meetings, before the Bankers won 4-2 for the district title.
Four Corners is led on offense by J.D. Farley, Nathan Hainy and Brad Hand, along with Justin Allen and Andrew McCloud. Farley, Josh Davies, Jeremy Hand and Adam Kaus are key tossers for the "4C" pitching staff.
The Hayes-area club made the Round of 16 in 2016. Four Corners defeated Tabor 4-3 before falling to Winner/Colome 14-2 in seven innings.
Four Corners will take on the Castlewood Monarchs in the final opening-round game of the tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday.