The Alexandria Angels epitomize the idea of a team.
The Angels captured their fourth Class B state amateur baseball title since 2013 at Cadwell Park. Alexandria’s run through the 12-day, five-game tournament was capped off with a 2-0 win over Garretson on Sunday.
The usual cast of characters were clutch again, but all the Angels had a hand in bringing another trophy back to Alexandria. Second baseman Cole Wenande said it best after Alexandria’s win on Sunday.
“I think you could have anybody on this team win MVP,” said Wenande, who hit .474 and drove in eight runs.
But while this year’s state amateur team was dotted with former MVP’s in Tyson Gau, Trever Vermeulen and Parkston pick-up player Brady Nolz, Alexandria catcher/manager Chris Marek was this year’s pick. He catapulted Alexandria into the title game with a grand slam in Saturday’s 7-3 win over Sunshine League foe Winner/Colome.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said Marek, who hit .381 and had eight RBIs. “Tyson won two games and was special at the mound. It’s a full team effort. That’s what it comes down to.”
The team effort started with 14 hits -- three each by Wenande and Jordan Gau -- in an 11-1 win over Lake Norden.
It continued with a 10-3 victory over Tabor as John Greicar jump started the offense with three-run homer in the third inning. Alexandria racked up 12 hits in the win.
The hits continued -- 15 more in fact -- in a 13-2 quarterfinal win over Milbank. Wenande went 4-for-4 and knocked in five runs, while Pierce Smith added three hits. Nolz (11 strikeouts, two earned runs) was pretty good, too.
The Angels found themselves facing a 3-1 deficit against the Pheasants, but Marek’s grand slam in the seventh capped a six-run inning to send them into the championship.
In the championship, Tyson Gau shined on the mound. He threw a five-hit shutout and fanned eight batters.
“Tyson was special,” Marek said. “That’s all I can say. He put us on his back and took us to the championship.”
Wenande didn’t register a hit in the finale and committed two errors in the field, but delivered when it mattered most. He hit a sac fly in the ninth inning and Gau said that’s what he needed to close things out on the mound.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates, every single one of them, even if they are sitting on the bench or behind me in the field,” Gau said. “I just have the utmost respect for all of them.”
The Angels have now won 17 straight games at Cadwell Park. Alexandria’s last defeat at the park came on Aug. 16, 2015 in the Class B title game against Parkston. … The Tony Adams Hustle Award recipients were Sioux Falls Brewers' Tom Hill (Class A) and Winner/Colome's Reed Harter (Class B). … The Clark Traders won the Sportsmanship Award. Plankinton’s Chris Hill was the batting champ after going 6-for-10. … There were 13 home runs during the Class B tournament, including one by Garretson at Drake Field. … The Bingo payout during the Class B state championship game was $227 and it was split between two people.