SIOUX FALLS-Bon Homme/Scotland welcomes the role of defending Class B state champions.
The Cavaliers return to the state baseball tournament for a first round date with Lennox at 11 a.m. Monday at Sioux Falls Stadium and they do so with a 14-1 record. Eight teams qualify for the Class B state tournament, with all four quarterfinal games scheduled for Monday, followed by the semifinals and championship games on Tuesday.
BH/S isn't shying away from the fact that it won't shock any opponents. Instead, the Cavaliers are ready to use its crew of seven seniors to become back-to-back state champions.
"It's tough to do and anytime you enter a state event, it's tough to do," Cavaliers' head coach Gary Kortan said. "We're going to relish the role of defending champ. We're going to go in there with a lot of confidence and see what we can do."
In order to win a state title, teams must win three games in two days. It tests pitching depth for every team, but BH/S may have a remedy-hitters throughout the lineup, literally.
The Cavaliers have eight hitters with an average of .300 or better, along with four players-Kaden Kozak, Tyler Kopp, Josh Schmidt and Trent Herrboldt-that are hitting at least .400 or better.
BH/S may face Lennox ace Brock Anderson in the first round, and should it advance, hitting depth could be an advantage against tired pitching staffs.
"We're not as deep pitching as we were last year, so we're going to have to rely on offense," Kortan said. "Especially if we get past the first day."
Winner/Colome to use pitching depth in return trip to state
While Bon Homme/Scotland is preparing to use its offense as an advantage, Region 4 champion Winner/Colome (10-3) hopes its pitching depth can translate into a deep run in the tournament.
The Royals will rely on No. 1 pitcher Jackson Kinzer in the opening-round game against Region 2 runner-up Redfield Area at 1 p.m. Monday. The senior has a 1.41 ERA in seven appearances this season, along with 43 strikeouts.
"What's been so great about him is that he's been efficient," Winner/Colome head coach Drew Weber said. "He's not a guy that's going to walk a lot of guys. It's really nice having him there and you can count him for six or seven innings, which takes the load off those other guys."
Should Winner/Colome advance, it has three more pitchers that have logged at least nine innings, including Jacob Beckers, who has 30 strikeouts in 21 innings and a 0.67 ERA.
A win against Redfield Area would extend a six-game winning streak and make amends for exiting in the first round in a 3-2 game to Lennox after entering the tournament undefeated last season. Aside from Kinzer, Layton Thieman, Joren Bruun and Oscar Pravecek, the remainder of the lineup is untested in state tournament play.
"We had to replace a lot of guys," Weber said. "The goal this year was to have a good season and hope we would have an opportunity to make the state tournament ... We're not really the team that everyone is gunning to beat, so we can play comfortably and relaxed."
State baseball schedule
All games at Sioux Falls Stadium
Class A - Saturday
No. 1 Brandon Valley (22-6) vs. No. 5 Mitchell (21-6), noon.
No. 11 Sioux Falls Roosevelt vs. No. 2 Sioux Falls O'Gorman (15-9), 2 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.
Quarterfinals - Monday
Bon Homme/Scotland (14-1) vs. Lennox (12-3), 11 a.m.
Winner/Colome (10-3) vs. Redfield Area (12-3), 1 p.m.
Madison (17-4) vs. St. Thomas More (14-3), 5 p.m.
West Central (12-0) vs. Dakota Valley (12-2), 7 p.m.
BH/S-Lennox winner vs. W/C-Redfield winner, noon.
Madison/STM winner vs. West Central/Dakota Valley winner, 2 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.