Amateur baseball district tournaments draw near for state tournament contenders
District tournaments to be played in Freeman, Dell Rapids, Gregory, Chamberlain and Corsica
MITCHELL — The road to Cadwell Park starts in earnest this week.
The Class B state amateur baseball tournament is Aug. 3-14 in Mitchell and teams will start securing berths this week in district play. There are 32 total spots up for grabs in the single-elimination state tournament.
Here’s a quick rundown of the brackets in their district-qualifying tournaments:
When/where: July 23-24 in Gregory, followed by weeknight games through July 28 in Chamberlain.
Defending champion: Plankinton Bankers.
Outlook: The final positioning in the District 3B bracket was set to be determined on Tuesday night, but for yet another season, the Plankinton Bankers and Kimball/White Lake are set as the top-two seeds in the bracket, which gets underway in Gregory. The two teams split their matchups during the regular season, as Plankinton goes for a sixth straight district title.
Colome (8-5) and Four Corners (8-6) will finish the regular season with a winning Pony Hills record and in good position to reach the state tournament. Chamberlain, Plankinton Gold Sox and the South Central Storm are each 5-8 entering the final night of the season and will chase for a state tournament berth.
When/where: July 22-30 in Dell Rapids.
Defending champion: Flandreau
Outlook: The biggest amateur baseball district bracket in Class B is in the Cornbelt’s District 4B, where 10 teams are playing for seven spots. It features both of 2021’s state finalists — the Dell Rapids Mudcats and the Flandreau Cardinals — who ironically did not pick up one of the top-three seeds in the District 4B bracket and will play each other in the quarterfinal round.
The No. 1 seed is the Hartford/Humboldt Gamecocks (14-4), who will take on either Salem (6-12) or their hometown rival Wood Ducks. Lennox (13-5) is the No. 2 seed, with Canova (12-6) seeded No. 3 and set to take on Madison in the opening game on Saturday, July 23. Dell Rapids Mudcats and Flandreau were both 12-6 in Cornbelt play, capping a grouping of five teams that finished within two games of the Cornbelt standings lead.
With a loser’s bracket that has seven games on the schedule, wins can keep a state tournament dream afloat at Rickeman Field in Dell Rapids. Three games per day are scheduled for the final three days of the event (July 28-29-30, with the last of those being the district title game at 6:30 p.m.
When/where: July 21-29 in Corsica.
Defending champion: Dimock/Emery.
Outlook: Baseball fans can count on the District 5B tournament to be an interesting one on an annual basis, and that’s certainly true in 2022, with the tournament at Corsica. Winner/Colome takes the No. 1 seed in the bracket after an 11-1 Sunshine League season that saw the Pheasants win the regular-season title by two games.
Alexandria dealt Winner/Colome its only loss of the season, a 6-3 win on June 21 and the Angels closed the season strong, winning six of their last seven league games.
Platte finished at 8-4 in the Sunshine League to pick up the No. 3 seed, followed by Mount Vernon and Dimock/Emery tied for fourth place. (Fourth-seeded Mount Vernon and No. 5 Dimock/Emery will take the field at 7:30 p.m. on July 21 to kickoff play.) Parkston and Corsica/Stickney finished in the back of the pack at 2-10 and will look for an upset to clinch a spot in Mitchell.
Friday’s first-round games will include Corsica/Stickney vs. Alexandria at 6 p.m. and Platte vs. Parkston at 8 p.m. Winner/Colome has a bye to the semifinals and will take on the Mustangs/Raptors winner at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, followed by the other semifinal at 7 p.m.
When/where: July 22-30 in Freeman
Defending champion: Crofton, Neb.
Outlook: The South Central League’s district is the one Class B league that has had the most change in the last two seasons. Both Scotland and Irene have had amateur teams fold, so that leaves only six teams playing for four state tournament slots on the line when the teams converge in Freeman on Friday.
Lesterville is the district’s No. 1 seed and will take on one of two Nebraska foes in the opening round, facing either No. 4 Wynot or No. 5 Crofton. (The Expos or Bluejays have won the last three district titles, including Crofton over Lesterville in the 2021 final.) The Broncs, at 10-2 in South Central League play, were three games ahead of any other Class B team in the league, with second-place Yankton moving up for the Class A bracket in the postseason.
Tabor stands at No. 2 and will take on either No. 3 Freeman or No. 6 Menno. The opening round is Friday, July 22, followed by the semifinals on Sunday, July 24. The final two tournament slots will be determined on Thursday, July 28 and on Saturday, July 30, the district championship will be decided in Freeman.