Middle infield defense shines in Winner/Colome's Class B title
SIOUX FALLS--Winner/Colome head coach Drew Weber wasn't shy about the ability of his middle infield heading into the 2016 prep baseball season. Weber noted his Royals team might have the best defense in the state because of middle infielders Reed...
SIOUX FALLS-Winner/Colome head coach Drew Weber wasn't shy about the ability of his middle infield heading into the 2016 prep baseball season.
Weber noted his Royals team might have the best defense in the state because of middle infielders Reed Harter, Kelly O'Bryan and Riley Calhoon.
At the Class B state baseball tournament in Sioux Falls, the Royals defense-especially the middle infield-shined in the team's two wins.
In the Class B state title game, Harter and O'Bryan combined to turn four double plays in seven innings.
"When those two are playing middle infield together, it's pretty sweet music," Weber said after Monday's 5-4 state championship win over West Central.
Weber added Harter and O'Bryan are cousins that don't always get along, but are always in sync on the baseball diamond.
"They're just two incredible infielders," Weber said. "They're really good at what they do."
Harter started both games at shortstop and when he came into pitch against Dell Rapids/Baltic, O'Bryan took his place and made a couple of game-saving plays for the Royals. Most notably, O'Bryan smoothly fielded a sharply hit ground ball in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded and was able to flip the ball over to Calhoon to record the third out.
"He saved the game for us there," Weber said about O'Bryan's diving stop and throw to second base. "That's the best play I've seen this year and he made it at such a crucial time."
O'Bryan started Winner/Colome's semifinal game and didn't allow an earned run in seven innings pitched. He ended up having a no-decision on the mound, but picked up the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning.
"It was a lot of adrenaline and making clutch plays," O'Bryan said after the Royals' 4-3 semifinal win in 13 innings. "It was for sure a team effort. We never gave up and that's the reason we won."
Harter finished the tournament with 12 assists, six putouts and only one error in 20 innings, while O'Bryan had eight assists, four putouts and no errors. Calhoon had four putouts in limited action at second base.
"I had the one error, but that stuff happens," said Harter, who will play baseball for the University of Sioux Falls next year. "Kelly did a good job at second base and our pitchers threw to get outs. They made them put the ball in play and Kelly and I did a good job turning those ground balls."
Outside of the middle infield, Winner/Colome's Nick Lantz caught all 20 innings behind the plate and kept the ball in front of him throughout the day. Lantz threw out one base runner in the top of third inning against Dell Rapids/Baltic.
"Nick Lantz did a phenomenal job catching those 20 innings," Weber said. "It was a full-on team defensive game."
The Winner/Colome outfield didn't see much action, but center fielder Drew DeMers was solid behind the middle infield. The junior had three putouts and committed one error, but recorded a run-scoring play of his own against West Central. DeMers made a running, full-extension catch in the championship game to save an extra base hit in the top of the fifth inning.