The goal of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament is to put together five wins.

Five wins over 12 days or less is what it takes to lift the trophy on Championship Sunday at Cadwell Park, which will be Aug. 15.

Before then, 32 teams will be in pursuit of that title, starting Wednesday in Mitchell. Here is a team-by-team look at the entire 32-team field:

Akron (Iowa) Rebels

The Akron Rebels return to Cadwell Park for the state tournament after a one-year hiatus.

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Akron, which was the No. 3 seed in the District 7B tournament, defeated Garretson in a semifinal game, 3-1, to advance to the district championship, where top-seeded Larchwood would emerge victorious.

The Rebels made five straight state tournaments between 2011 and 2015, capped by a trip to the Class B semifinals in 2015. Akron also qualified in 2018 and 2019 but was eliminated by Canova in the opening round of their last appearance in 2019.

Akron plays Mount Vernon at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the opening round.

Alexandria Angels

As the most dominant Class B team of the last decade, the Alexandria Angels remain as big of a threat as any team in the 2021 state tournament field. But defending champions’ route back to state had a few more bumps than normal.

Alexandria (15-3) was the top seed and host in the District 5B tournament and received a bye in the seven-team bracket, only to be upset by Dimock/Emery 2-0 in the semifinal round on July 25. The Angels qualified for the Class B field with their next chance in a 19-4 victory over the Parkston Mudcats on July 29. The loss to Dimock/Emery kept Alexandria out of the district championship for the first time in 10 seasons.

The Angels are led at the plate by Peyton Smith’s .419 batting average, with Smith scoring 23 runs. Cole Wenande has driven in a team-best 20 RBIs, while catcher Michael Schoettmer has a .373 batting average and four home runs, matching teammate Jordan Gau’s four homers. Tyson Gau has driven in 16 runs for the Angels, who hit .306 as a team.

On the mound, Tyson Gau has logged 60 strikeouts in 46 innings with an ERA of 3.13, leading a trio of top-tier starters. Ethan Davis has punched out 52 opposing batters in 41 innings with a 5-0 record and an ERA of 0.88. Jed Schmidt has 28 innings pitched with 42 strikeouts and a 1.28 ERA.

In the 2020 tournament, the Angels eked out a walkoff win over Lesterville in the opening game, before marching to the championship with wins over Parkston, the Dell Rapids Mudcats and Winner/Colome before triumphing with an 11-3 win over Canova in the championship.

And as fate would have it, Alexandria will face Canova in a 2020 championship rematch at 11 a.m. Friday in the opening round. The two teams did not play during the regular season.

Canova third baseman Kendall Gassman throws to first base for an out during the 2020 South Dakota amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Canova third baseman Kendall Gassman throws to first base for an out during the 2020 South Dakota amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Canova Gang

With a record of 20-3 and appearances in the state semifinals and beyond in the last three Class B tournaments, Canova is among the state championship contenders in 2021 once again. Canova was the No. 1 seed in the District 4B tournament but fell 14-2 to Flandreau in the semifinals, forcing the Gang to the loser’s bracket to make the state tournament. Canova then clinched its spot with a 10-2 win over Lennox on July 29.

All three of the Gang’s losses to Cornbelt League foes, dropping regular-season contests to Dell Rapids and Salem before the Flandreau misstep in the District 4B semifinals. Nevertheless, the Gang started the season 9-0 and averaged 8.34 runs per game.

Jared Miller leads a strong lineup of Gang hitters, batting .364 on the season with 22 runs scored and driving home 18 more, with three home runs. Trey Krier also is hitting .364, while Tim Gassman, Garrett Gassman and Justin Miller are all batting better than .340 for the year. Garrett Gassman has posted 28 RBIs, while Justin Miller has scored 21 runs.

The Gang’s Derek Miller leads the team in innings pitched with 62, posting a 5-1 record, with 64 strikeouts on the season. Trey Krier is 8-0 in nine starts with an ERA of 1.42, with 40 strikeouts to only five walks. Kendall Gassman has a 1.51 ERA with 33 strikeouts in nearly 30 innings pitched.

Canova, which won the 2018 Class B championship in Sioux Falls, nearly picked up the title hardware in 2020, defeating Mount Vernon, Dell Rapids PBR, Hartford/Humboldt and Wynot before falling Alexandria in the championship, 11-3, in a game in which the Gang trailed from the start and was down 6-1 after four innings.

Canova will have a chance to avenge its 2020 championship loss to Alexandria in the opening round, taking on the Angels at 11 a.m. Friday. Neither team was a district champion, leaving each team susceptible to being drawn against each other in the first round.

Castlewood Monarchs

After three years away, the Castlewood Monarchs have returned to the Class B state amateur baseball tournament.

The Monarchs, which were seeded fifth in the seven-team District 1B tournament, bounced back from two losses earlier in the tournament to Lake Norden and Clark to defeat Hamlin in the last-chance game on July 28 in Volga in a 15-5, seven-inning game.

In the district tournament, Jacob Tvedt led the Monarchs with eight hits and a .667 batting average, while Lucas Ching had three home runs and drove in nine runs. Blayne Schliesman drove in eight runs and had two home runs, as Castlewood scored 31 times in three games at districts. Tvedt, Kyler Tvedt, Ethan Benck and Kellen Benck all pitched in the tournament, with Ethan Benck and Kellen Benck each posting starts with 10 strikeouts each.

Castlewood, which was last in the state tournament in 2017, will take on Dimock/Emery in the first round at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Clark Traders

For the fourth straight year and the 17th time in the last 18 seasons, Clark is among the Eastern Dakota League teams in the Class B state tournament.

At the District 1B tournament, Clark (12-9) defeated Aurora and fell to Milbank in the semifinals before bouncing back with a 13-12 victory over Castlewood on July 26 to reach the state tournament.

Clark’s Zach Toben has a .611 batting average in 10 games, with four home runs, 15 RBIs and 16 runs scored. Andrew Magedanz had 20 RBIs, while Brent Griffith has scored 24 runs for the season. Tyler Brinka has 18 RBIs on a .347 batting average and Bryce DesLauriers also has four home runs for the Traders.

Toben is the team’s leading pitcher, with a 4-1 record in 42 2/3 innings, 36 strikeouts and a 3.58 ERA. Brinka has thrown more than 34 innings with 38 strikeouts, and Wesley Jones has tossed 30-plus innings with 35 strikeouts and a 4.45 ERA, while Griffith has 36 punchouts in 23 2/3 innings.

In 2020, the Traders had an 11-5 first-round win over Four Corners, before falling 6-0 to Wynot, Nebraska in the second round.

Clark will open the state tournament with a first-round game against the Plankinton Bankers at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Colman A’s

With their qualification out of District 4B, the Colman A’s return to the Class B state tournament for the first time since 2018.

Colman (11-13) was the No. 7 seed when the Cornbelt League season ended, finishing 6-12 in the league standings. Playing on their home field, the A’s got to the state tournament thanks to three straight wins, capped by a 6-5 win over Dell Rapids PBR on July 29 in the District 4B tournament.

As the year wore on, Colman was able to battle back after seven losses in eight games had them 4-7 at midseason to claim one of the district’s seven qualifying spots.

In its last state appearance in 2018, Colman defeated Tabor in the first round, before falling to Cornbelt rival Canova in the second round.

Colman will take on the Redfield Pheasants in Saturday’s nightcap in the opening round, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Colome Chaos

One new face in the Class B state amateur baseball tournament this year will be the Colome Chaos.

The Chaos (10-9), which are in their third year of play as an amateur team, qualified for the state tournament with a 14-4 win over Miller/Wessington on July 28.

Colome, which was 8-8 in Pony Hills League play, is led at the plate by Ben Connot, who has hit .438 during the season. Jackson Kinzer has hit .403 with 26 runs scored, while Ethan Vobr has driven in 19 runs and hit .365, for the Chaos, which averages more than 9.5 runs per game.

Carter Brickman has thrown 53 innings for the Chaos to lead the pitching staff, with 60 strikeouts and a 5.60 ERA. Jake Luse has thrown 31 innings, with Ethan Vobr and Shea Connot each throwing more than 24 innings, and Vobr posting a 2.77 ERA.

Colome will face Salem at 11 a.m. Sunday in the first round.

Crofton (Neb.) Bluejays

Coming off a second straight district title, the Crofton Bluejays head north to battle for a Class B state amateur baseball championship.

The Bluejays were 10-6 in South Central League play, which was good for the No. 1 seed in District 6B. (Four-time league champion Yankton Tappers plays in the Class A postseason.)

In the district championship played in Tabor, Crofton trailed 4-0 early in the game before scoring the next seven runs to defeat Lesterville 8-6. Corey Roach was the tournament MVP, leading an offensive charge in the district playoffs that included 22 runs over the last two games. It is Crofton’s first back-to-back district titles since 2013 and 2014.

Crofton was one-and-done at the 2020 state tournament, knocked out by Salem in a 3-0 loss. The Bluejays are a state tournament regular, including winning the 2011 Class B title, but haven’t reached the quarterfinals since 2017.

Crofton will take on Volga at 1 p.m. Friday in the first round at Cadwell Park.

Dell Rapids Mudcats

Coming from the powerful Cornbelt League, the Dell Rapids Mudcats stand as one of the contenders for the Class B state amateur championship.

The Mudcats were the No. 2 seed in the District 4B tournament after a 14-4 record in the regular season and had victories over Madison and rival Dell Rapids PBR to reach the district title game, where they were downed by Flandreau. It was the Mudcats’ first appearance in the District 4B final since winning the 2017 title.

The Mudcats’ regular season included a few quirky victories. Dell Rapids had three grand slams in a 21-2, five-inning win over Lennox on July 11 with four-run home runs from Dalton Lehnen, Nate Henry and Landon Ruesink. Lehnen also had 20 strikeouts in seven innings in a 10-0 win, eight-inning victory over Dell Rapids PBR on June 25.

The 2020 Mudcats reached the tournament quarterfinals after wins over Plankinton and Groton, before falling in an 11-6 contest against Alexandria. After missing the 2018 tournament, the Mudcats have made the quarterfinals in each of their last two appearances.

The Mudcats will open state tournament play against Lake Norden at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Dell Rapids PBR

Dell Rapids Pabst Blue Ribbon is making its second consecutive trip to the Class B state amateur baseball tournament in 2021.

PBR, which was the No. 6 seed heading to the District 4B tournament with a 7-11 record, clinched its spot in the state tournament after going 2-2 in the districts, capped with a victory over Madison.

PBR is led by Carter Gullickson, who is hitting .463 with 24 runs scored. Riley Hoffman has driven in 15 runs to lead the team, while Matt Gillogly and Weston Hanson are both hitting better than .340.

Hoffman leads the team in pitching, with 38 punchouts in 37 1/3 innings and a 2.17 ERA. Trey Randel has thrown 31 strikeouts in 32 innings, while David Kirby has 45 strikeouts in 30 innings and a 2.10 ERA for Dell Rapids PBR.

In 2020, PBR had a 4-1 win over Milbank in the opening round, before falling to Cornbelt rival Canova in the second round.

PBR will face Lesterville in the 11 a.m. Saturday game at Cadwell Park.

MORE ON THE STATE AMATEUR BASEBALL TOURNAMENT:

Dimock/Emery Raptors

Dimock/Emery saw its 14-year qualification streak in the Class B state amateur baseball tournament come to an end in 2020.

But Dimock/Emery took control of its fate in the 2021 District 5B tournament with a 3-0 win over Mount Vernon in the opening round and a 2-0 victory over Alexandria in the semifinals, ending the Angels’ streak of nine straight appearances in the District 5B championship game. For good measure, Dimock/Emery rallied past Winner/Colome 10-7 for the district title on July 31, making it the first Raptors’ district title since 2015 and the third since 2011.

The Raptors have been lifted at the plate by Mitchell Post 18 Legion alum Peyton Nash, who is hitting a team-best .349 with 20 runs scored. Sam Pischke has driven in 17 runs, while Tyson Kayser has 13 RBIs, and Gene Kitchens (.311) and Phil Johnson (.304) are both hitting above .300 for the season.

On the mound, Johnson remains the Raptors’ longtime ace with 36 innings pitched and 36 strikeouts. Jason Schmidt has a 2.10 earned-run average in 30 innings with 43 punchouts, while Pischke, Drew Kitchens, Ben Wermers each logged more than 24 innings for the season.

The Raptors (11-10) play the Castlewood Monarchs at 7:30 Wednesday in the first round.

Elk Point 45’s

For the second straight season, Elk Point will join the state tournament field in Class B.

The 45’s made the tournament with an attention-grabbing win in the District 7B last-chance game on July 31 in Larchwood, Iowa, as fourth-seeded Elk Point defeated state tournament regular and district No. 2 seed Garretson 11-5. The win ended Garretson’s streak of state tournament appearances at 12 after making it each year since 2009, and allowed Elk Point to claim the last of three available state berths from District 7B, which had just five teams in 2021.

Elk Point was blanked in its inaugural state appearance in 2020, falling 2-0 to Wynot in the final game in the opening round.

Elk Point will take on Kimball/White Lake in its tournament opener at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Flandreau Cardinals

Riding high after a second straight District 4B championship, Flandreau stands among the Class B’s contenders for its first state championship.

The Cardinals (12-10) had convincing wins over the Hartford/Humboldt Gamecocks and Canova to clinch a state tournament slot, before taking on the Dell Rapids Mudcats in the District 4B championship on July 31, with the Cardinals winning 10-6 to repeat as district champions.

On offense, the Cardinals have been paced by Keith Cutler, who is hitting .471 with an on-base percentage of .507, along with 15 RBIs and 15 runs scored. Aiden Ladd, an infielder for the Augustana University baseball team earlier this year, is hitting .368 with 16 RBIs and 18 runs scored. Bret Severtson leads the team in RBIs with 17. A number of the Cardinals players are former standouts for the Renner Monarchs, including Grant Hieb, Brian McGuire, Dallas Schneiderman and Tim Huber. Hieb is the team leader in runs scored with 20.

On the mound, Jordan Gesling, who also has Augie connections, has struck out 38 batters in 33 2/3 innings, while Schneiderman has allowed 10 hits in 27 innings with 34 strikeouts. Zach Weinandt, Bret Severtson and Drew Weber are also among the Cardinals’ top arms.

Flandreau, which fell in the 2018 championship game to Cornbelt rival Canova 10-2, has had difficult early draws in recent state tournaments. In 2019, the Cardinals won their opening game against Freeman and then dropped a 3-1 decision to Canova, while in 2020, Flandreau and Winner/Colome played the most anticipated first-round game, with Winner/Colome triumphing 6-2.

Flandreau will take on Tabor in a first-round game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Four Corners

The westernmost team in the Class B field once again in 2021, Four Corners will be in the state tournament again. The team, based near the Stanley County burgh of Hayes, is about 40 miles west of Pierre.

This season, Four Corners clinched its spot in the Class B tournament field with a 9-2 victory over Kimball/White Lake in the District 3B tournament on July 27.

In 2020, Four Corners bowed out in the opening round in an 11-5 loss to Clark. It marked the fourth straight year that Four Corners played in the Sunday afternoon session as one of the final two games of the opening round.

This year, Four Corners will play the first game in the lower half of the bracket, when they face Wynot at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Mitchell.

Kimball/White Lake Nationals

Kimball/White Lake will play in the Class B state tournament for a third straight season, qualifying from the Pony Hills League.

The Nationals were the No. 2 seed in the District 3B bracket on the strength of a 15-1 regular season but KWL was knocked off by South Central in the district semifinals and by Four Corners in a loser’s bracket game. That sent the Nationals to the last-chance game against Miller/Wessington, with KWL winning 7-2 on July 30.

In the 2020 tournament, KWL took a 3-all tie game into the 10th inning with Larchwood, only to see the Diamonds explode for eight runs in the top of the 10th to win 11-3.

Kimball/White Lake’s tournament opener will be against Elk Point at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Mitchell.

Lake Norden Lakers

On the strength of the District 1B championship, Lake Norden is surging into Cadwell Park and the Class B state tournament. The Lakers defeated Milbank 8-4 in the championship game on July 29 in Volga.

In the three-game district tournament, Lake Norden got seven hits and six RBIs from Jesse VanOverbeke, with Mitchell Noem adding seven hits and three RBIs. On the mound, Jordan Johnson threw 17 1/3 innings and picked up all three wins in the tournament, including two in relief. Johnson had 24 strikeouts compared to five walks with an ERA of 5.19. Noem and Kale Stevenson also pitched in the tournament, with Stevenson punching out 10 in five innings of work.

Lake Norden bowed out in the first round of the 2020 tournament, falling to the 38-and-over Renner Bullets 5-2 on the second day of the event.

Lake Norden will duel with the Dell Rapids Mudcats in the opening round, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Larchwood (Iowa) Diamonds

Just over the South Dakota-Iowa border, the Larchwood Diamonds have been one of the most consistent Class B tournament teams in recent seasons and that’s again the case in 2021.

As the No. 1 seed in a five-team district, the Diamonds received a bye to the semifinals and then defeated Elk Point 21-3 in five innings to assure their state berth advance to the District 7B championship game. In the July 31 championship against Akron, the Diamonds cruised to a 17-4 victory over Akron on their home field.

Jaden Snyder paces Larchwood at the plate, hitting .549 and with an on-base percentage of .623. Mitch Peschon has hit five home runs with an average of .426 and 22 RBIs, and Keaton Grevengoed has a team-best 25 RBIs with a batting average at .438.

Brian Wede leads the Diamonds in earned-run average on the mound in 2021, with a mark of 1.44 through 25 innings pitched. Colleague Trevor Reinke is the team leader in wins with five and innings pitched with 43 logged on the season alongside 33 strikeouts and a 3.56 ERA. Luke Hughes has 34 strikeouts in 27 innings for Larchwood, which has a team ERA of 3.73.

Larchwood will take on Lennox in the opening round of the Class B tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Lennox Only One

After a one-year hiatus, Lennox returns to the Class B state tournament, emerging from the competitive Cornbelt League.

Lennox was 11-7 in league play during the season and was the No. 3 seed in the District 4B tournament, but the Alpacas (14-10 overall) were upset in their opening game by Dell Rapids PBR. From there, Lennox battled back with victories over the Hartford/Humboldt Wood Ducks and Madison, took a loss to Canova and then defeated Salem 14-1 on July 30 to clinch a spot in the state tournament field. In the district tournament, Drew Sweeter was the tournament’s batting champion, hitting .588 over five games, and also posted a five-hit complete game on the mound in the victory over Salem.

In its last state tournament appearance in 2019, Lennox was eliminated in the opening game by Winner/Colome. The team has qualified for six of the last nine Class B tournaments.

Lennox faces Larchwood, Iowa in the first round at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Lesterville Broncs

A strong showing in the District 6B tournament carried Lesterville to the Class B state tournament in 2021.

The Broncs, who were 7-9 in South Central League play during the regular season and were seeded third for the district bracket, advanced with wins over Irene and Wynot to clinch a state tournament berth before losing 8-6 in the District 6B championship game July 31 to Crofton.

In the 2020 tournament opener, Lesterville took Alexandria to the wire, before falling 8-7 in the opening round.

Lesterville will play the leadoff game on Saturday morning, taking on Dell Rapids PBR at 11 a.m.

Menno Mad Frogs

Despite being the lowest seeded team in the District 6B tournament, the Menno amateur baseball team climbed its way to the Class B state tournament in 2021.

Menno was the No. 7 seed in the District 6B tournament and finished 2-2 in the tournament, clinching its trip to the state tournament with a 13-8 win over Freeman in the last-chance game in District 6B to reach the state tournament. In the game, Macon Oplinger earned the win on the mound and hit a home run, while Adam Walter hit a pair of home runs.

The win sends the Mad Frogs to the Class B tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years, and provides some payback after the Mad Frogs were the district’s No. 2 seed and hosted the tournament in 2020 and missed out on qualifying for a state berth.

Menno will play in the opening game on the first full day of play in the tournament Thursday, taking on Redfield Dairy Queen at 11 a.m.

Milbank Firechiefs

Milbank will head south for the Class B state amateur baseball tournament for the 12th consecutive year.

The Firechiefs qualified for the tournament with wins over Hamlin and Clark, before falling to Lake Norden in the District 1B championship game, 8-4.

At the District 1B tournament, Milbank had six hits each from Brady Krause and Mitch Quade, with Krause driving in seven runs. Dominique Boerger had five hits, including two home runs for the Firechiefs, and Johnny Ash scored four times.

The pitching triumvirate of Boerger, Taylor Boerger and Justin Larson each started a game in the district tournament, combining for 41 strikeouts in 26 innings, including 15 punchouts for Boerger in a win over Hamlin.

Milbank returns to the tournament after a first-round exit in 2020, a 4-1 loss to Dell Rapids PBR.

Milbank will take on Platte in the tournament’s opening game at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Mitchell.

Mount Vernon's Chase Hetland throws over to first base for an out during a game against Parkston on June 13 in Parkston. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Mount Vernon's Chase Hetland throws over to first base for an out during a game against Parkston on June 13 in Parkston. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Mount Vernon Mustangs

For the fifth time in the last six seasons, Mount Vernon will play in the Class B state amateur baseball tournament.

The Mustangs (13-7) qualified via a 6-5 win over Platte on July 29 in Alexandria in the District 5B tournament.

Mount Vernon is led by former Dakota Wesleyan University football standout Spencer Neugebauer, who hit .400 during the season and scored a team-best 30 runs with 17 stolen bases. Bradley Dean and Briggs Havlik each hit .339, while Eric Giblin drove in 26 runs and hit .305.

Deric Denning was the team’s most-used pitcher during the season, with a 5-2 record and 60 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings and a 3.11 ERA. Luke Tiesler threw 38 1/3 innings with 31 strikeouts, with Havlik, Dean and Baley Miller each logging at least 18 innings during the season.

In their last state appearance in 2020, Mount Vernon took on Canova in an intriguing first-round game, but the Gang was triumphant by a score of 8-3, starting their march to the Class B championship game.

Mount Vernon’s tournament opener will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Akron, Iowa.

Plankinton Bankers

The Bankers are back for the ninth consecutive season.

Plankinton earned a spot in the field with a 5-2 win over South Central for the District 3B championship, which was its fifth consecutive title. The Bankers posted a 15-1 mark in Pony Hills League play.

Cole Knippling paces the Bankers with a .437 batting average in 71 at-bats. He has five home runs and 23 RBIs. Sheldon Gant has belted five homers and has 23 RBIs, while hitting .387. Chris Hall has posted four home runs, 19 RBIs and is hitting .389.

Josh Engquist (.357/23 RBIs/HR), Josh Geppert (.313/13 RBIs), Travis Gant (.326/10 RBIs) and Kyle Bruinsma (.308/6 RBIs/HR) also add pop to the lineup.

Travis Gant and Engquist handle a bulk of the workload on the mound. Gant has an ERA of 1.62, has struck out 87 batters and has logged 61 innings pitched. Engquist has logged 64 innings pitched, 96 strikeouts and has a 2.11 ERA.

Last season, the Bankers were defeated in the first round by the Dell Rapids Mudcats, who advanced to the quarterfinals.

Plankinton (18-2) will battle Clark in the opening round of the tournament at 1 p.m. Thursday in Mitchell.

Plankinton Bankers' Sheldon Gant celebrates with Chris Hill (2) after hitting a home run against the Plankinton Gold Sox on June 17 in Plankinton. (Ryan Deal / Republic)
Plankinton Bankers' Sheldon Gant celebrates with Chris Hill (2) after hitting a home run against the Plankinton Gold Sox on June 17 in Plankinton. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Platte Killer Tomatoes

Platte is making back-to-back state appearances after topping Parkston in a District 5B elimination game.

The Killer Tomatoes finished 8-4 in Sunshine League play and earned the No. 2 seed in the district tournament.

After missing the state tournament in 2018 and 2019, Platte has now qualified in back-to-back seasons. In the 2020 edition of the state tournament, Platte defeated Volga 6-4 before falling to the Renner Bullets, 5-2.

Platte (11-7) will play in the tournament’s lid-lifting game at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday against Milbank.

Redfield Dairy Queen

A historic team name in South Dakota amateur baseball returns to the state bracket in 2021 in Redfield Dairy Queen. Redfield DQ is back in the Class B field for the first time since 2014, returning to the diamond this season after previously disbanding.

Redfield Dairy Queen qualified after being the No. 2 seed in the four-team District 2B tournament from the Northern Plains League, and did so the hard way following an opening-round loss to Northville, before earning loser’s bracket victories over Groton and Northville to reach the district championship game, where they fell to the cross-town rival Pheasants.

The team had not been competing in recent years, leaving Redfield with only one team in the Pheasants. The 2021 appearance comes on the 15th anniversary of Redfield Dairy Queen winning the 2006 state title over Wynot 8-6 in 10 innings at Cadwell Park.

Redfield Dairy Queen will open state tournament play at 11 a.m. Thursday against Menno.

Redfield Pheasants

The class of the Northern Plains League remained the Redfield Pheasants in 2021.

The No. 1 seed in the District 2B tournament, the Pheasants cruised to a 13-1 victory over Redfield Dairy Queen in the championship game on July 28 in Redfield. It marks the sixth time in the last seven seasons that the Pheasants have won the district title. It is the smallest district in Class B amateur baseball, with four teams playing for just two slots in the state tournament in 2021. Redfield also had wins over Groton and Northville in the district tournament, as well. It will be the Pheasants eight trip to the Class B state tournament in the last 10 years.

Redfield’s most notable regular season win came in a June 13 Northern Plains League road game, when the Pheasants exploded for a 26-3 victory over Groton.

In 2020, the Pheasants reached the second round of the tournament after picking up a 12-8 win over Irene, before dropping a 9-7 decision to the Hartford/Humboldt Gamecocks.

In their opening game, the Redfield Pheasants will take on Colman at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Salem's Isaac Anderson throws the ball in the infield during a 2020 South Dakota state amateur baseball tournament game at Cadwell Park. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Salem's Isaac Anderson throws the ball in the infield during a 2020 South Dakota state amateur baseball tournament game at Cadwell Park. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Salem Cubs

A surprise quarterfinalist in 2020, Salem returns to the state tournament this year looking to replicate and further their success again.

The Cubs (9-17) were the No. 8 seed in the District 4B tournament after a 6-12 season in the Cornbelt League. But the Cornbelt’s home district received seven slots in the state tournament field, providing Salem a chance to return to Mitchell. After a first-round win, the Cubs had three losses in the district bracket to drop into the last-chance game slot, in which it defeated Madison, 5-2, to secure a state spot.

At the plate, the Cubs’ Felix Rodriguez has hit .361, driving in 12 runs, and Tyler Earls has hit .367 in limited plate appearances. Cole Cheeseman and Tyler Cleveland have each drove in 11 runs in a balanced offense this season. Luke Loudenburg has scored 17 runs for the Cubs.

Earls has done the majority of the pitching for Salem, logging 67 innings and 52 strikeouts with a 4-4 record. Jackson Sadler has thrown 36 1/3 innings, with Isaac Anderson, Loudenburg and Cory Struck also throwing 20-plus innings for the season.

Salem, which finished 8-17 in 2020, defeated Crofton and Larchwood in close contests during last year’s tournament before falling to Wynot in the quarterfinal round.

This year, in a battle of green-clad first-round opponents, Salem will take on Colome at 11 a.m. Sunday at Cadwell Park.

South Central Storm

The South Central Storm is starting to make its August appearance at the state amateur baseball tournament a habit, reaching the state tournament for a third straight season. The Storm, who field players from the Burke and Gregory areas, also reached the district title game for the first time in its current composition.

The Storm, who were 10-6 in Pony Hills League play and are 12-10 overall, earned the No. 3 seed for the District 3B tournament and defeated the Plankinton Gold Sox (10-6) and Kimball/White Lake (10-8) to reach the district championship game. In the championship game on July 29, the Plankinton Bankers won 5-2 over South Central.

Jaden Frank is the team leader in hits with 39, hitting .500, driving in 16 runs and scoring 26. Blake Boes is the team leader in RBIs with 25, while Aaron Vomacka has 18 RBIs and is hitting .333. J.J. Beck (.393 batting average) and Brandon McKnight (.383 average) also are among the Storm’s top offensive threats.

Longtime Storm pitcher Paul Taggert is having a strong season, throwing 30 1/3 innings and posting a 0.59 earned-run average with 36 strikeouts. Boes has 39 strikeouts in 23 innings with an ERA of 1.96.

The Storm made the Class B tournament in 2019 and 2020, bowing out in the first round on both occasions, including a 14-4, seven-inning loss to Garretson a season ago.

South Central will take on Highway 18 rival Winner/Colome in the final game of the first round at 1 p.m. Sunday.

South Central's Paul Taggert fields a throw to second as Garretson's Brett Fischer attempts to steal second base during the opening round of the South Dakota amateur baseball tournament Aug. 7, 2020 at Cadwell Park. (Matt Gade / Republic)
South Central's Paul Taggert fields a throw to second as Garretson's Brett Fischer attempts to steal second base during the opening round of the South Dakota amateur baseball tournament Aug. 7, 2020 at Cadwell Park. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Tabor Bluebirds

Tabor has been among Class B’s most consistent teams in reaching the state tournament, but the Bluebirds are hoping 2021 is the year to put together a run deep into the second week of play.

After being the No. 4 seed out of the South Central League, Tabor (8-11) qualified through District 6B with a win over Freeman, a loss to eventual district champion Crofton, and then a 13-8 win over Menno on July 29.

At the plate, Tabor is led by Hunter Hallock, who hit .413 with four home runs, 21 RBIs and 23 runs scored. Joey Slama hits .377 with 19 runs scored, while Bryce Scieszinski has driven in 18 runs.

For Tabor, which has a team ERA of 5.62, Zach Cuka has thrown 34 1/3 innings with 22 strikeouts, with Christian Uecker throwing 30 1/3 innings and striking out 36 opponents

The Bluebirds, which played in the 2011 championship and won first round games in 2017 and 2019, bowed out in 2020 in the first round after a 5-2 loss to the Parkston Mudcats.

Tabor will take on District 4B champion Flandreau at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the final game of the day.

Volga Cormorants

The Volga Cormorants fly back to Cadwell Park for the Class B state tournament in 2021, marking the third time in four years that Volga has qualified for the tournament.

The Cormorants, who were the No. 1 seed out of the Eastern Dakota League for the District 1B tournament, dropped their opening game by a score of 12-8 to Lake Norden, but defeated Hamlin 12-1 to reach the state tournament. In the game, Parker Puetz had 19 strikeouts and allowed just one hit and one walk in the victory over the Chargers.

In the district tournament, Parker Puetz was 5-for-7 batting with a home run and four RBIs, while Tyson Sonnenburg also drove in four runs and had a home run. Noah Puetz scored four times for the Cormorants.

Aside from Puetz’s strong pitching performance against Hamlin, Cole Gross, Trevor Olson and Josh Nelson handled the pitching for Volga in the district tournament.

In 2020, Volga dropped a first-round game against Platte by a score of 6-4. Volga will take on District 6B champion Crofton, Nebraska in a 1 p.m. game Friday in the first round.

Winner/Colome's Chandler Bakley applies a tag to Alexandria's Reggie Slaba at home plate on June 13 in Alexandria. (Ryan Deal / Republic)
Winner/Colome's Chandler Bakley applies a tag to Alexandria's Reggie Slaba at home plate on June 13 in Alexandria. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

Winner/Colome Pheasants

Making its 13th straight state tournament appearance in Class B, Winner/Colome returns to Mitchell looking to check the final box in the club’s history that they have to accomplish: a state championship.

The Pheasants (14-5), which were the No. 3 seed entering the District 5B tournament, clinched a berth in the state tournament with its semifinal win over Platte, 7-5, on July 25. In the district title game, Dimock/Emery rallied for a 10-7 victory over Winner/Colome. It was the Pheasants’ first appearance in the district championship since 2018, when Winner/Colome won the title in its third-straight attempt against Alexandria.

Austin Calhoon leads the Pheasants at the plate with a .485 average, 35 RBIs and 22 runs scored. Chandler Bakley is hitting .384 with 19 RBIs and 21 runs scored, while Derek Graesser had 22 runs and is hitting .377. Reed Harter is hitting .367 and has scored 29 times, as Winner/Colome averages 10.2 runs per game.

Connor Hopkins has pitched 44 1/3 innings, struck out 58 opposing batters and has a 2.64 ERA, while Patrick Starr has 34 punchouts in 38 innings and J.J. Farner has 33 strikeouts in 32 innings.

In 2020, Winner/Colome’s bid for its elusive state championship was halted by eventual champion Alexandria in the semifinals, after victories over Flandreau, Garretson and the Renner Bullets in the first three rounds.

Winner/Colome will take on its nearby Pony Hills League rival South Central in the final game of the first round, scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at Cadwell Park. The Pheasants won the regular-season meeting between the two teams by a score of 13-4 on May 11 in Winner.

Wynot (Neb.) Expos

Coming off a Class B semifinal appearance, the Wynot Expos return to Cadwell Park looking to make a run in the state tournament.

Wynot, which was 8-8 in South Central League play and earned the No. 2 seed in the District 6B tournament, won its first round game against Menno and then was bounced in the semifinals by Lesterville 6-2. Wynot then clinched its trip to Mitchell with an 8-4 win over Freeman on July 29.

2021 will be Wynot’s fifth straight year in the Class B tournament, with the Expos fresh off a semifinal appearance in the 2020 event, defeating Elk Point, Clark and Salem to reach the final four, where Canova eliminated the Expos.

Wynot opens the state tournament in the first game on Friday evening against Four Corners at 5:30 p.m.