The South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame has announced its latest class of inductees.
The Class of 2019 features Dell Rapids’ Jay Bentz, Mina’s Dan Stier, Redfield’s Keith Gall, Flandreau’s Rick Weber and Watertown’s Roger Merriam.
The inductees will be honored during the semifinals of the state tournament on Aug. 10 in Mitchell and a banquet is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the William Janklow Community Center in Flandreau. Information related to the banquet will be released at a later date.
Jay Bentz, a Sioux Falls native, was one of 11 players who helped bring baseball back to Dell Rapids in 1979, along with Brett Yeomen — a teammate at Sioux Falls College. He mainly was a catcher but also spent time at second base, serving as a player-manager for the PBR teams that won 11 district championships and nine state championships — 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2007.
Dan Stier enjoyed a successful amateur baseball career that was highlighted by a dominant 10-year stretch with Aberdeen Wendy's Coke and the Aberdeen A's from 1984 through 1994. He helped lead the Northern State University to district championships in 1984 and 1985, batting .505 as a senior on the way to earning NAIA honorable mention All-American honors.
Keith Gall played amateur ball from 1986 to 2015 — two years in Sioux Falls, five in Aberdeen and his final 23 in Redfield. He played on 25 district champions and four state championship squads, playing a different position on each title team — centerfield for Aberdeen Wendy's Coke in 1988, shortstop for the Sioux Falls Silver Bullets in 1990 and third base (2000) and first base (2006) for Redfield Dairy Queen.
Rick Weber played in 31 state tournaments, first as a Legion pickup for Salem's 1982 state championship team and then a 30-year streak of state-tournament appearances with Salem (1984-91) and Flandreau (1992-2013). He compiled a 171-30 career record on the mound that included three regular season no-hitters for Salem (1985) and Flandreau (1994 and 1995).
Roger Merriam was a second baseman and shortstop for 21 seasons from 1983 to 2003, playing amateur baseball with Huron, Salem, Watertown and the Castlewood Ravens, finishing with a career batting average of .323 and on-base percentage of .432. He played in 18 state tournaments, batting .352 in tournament play.