Class B softball to award automatic state-tournament berth to top-three seeds
With only 13 teams in Class B, the top-three seeds will get an automatic berth to the state tournament while the remaining 10 teams playing in a state-qualifier game.
PIERRE, S.D. — With Class B softball having just 13 teams, the qualification for reaching the state tournament will look a bit different than the other two classes.
While Class AA and A will have the traditional, SoDak 16 state-qualifier format, Class B will give an automatic state-tournament berth to the top-three seeds, while the remaining 10 teams play in a state-qualifier game where the winner advances to the state tournament, according to South Dakota High School Activities Association Assistant Executive Director Jo Auch.
As of May 10, Arlington, Alcester-Hudson and Castlewood would be the three teams to receive byes to the state tournament.
Auch said there were discussions of possible “mini regional tournaments” for Class B, but given how far some of the teams are from one another, it “didn’t seem like it was going to work best.” Instead, the single state-qualifier games will be played at the home field of the higher seed.
“Best we could do in that scenario,” Auch said of the format for Class B this year. “We’ll get eight teams (to the state tournament) and they’ll play for a state title just like anyone else.”
All teams, regardless of class, will need at least eight games to be eligible for a seed position, Auch said. As of May 10, Vermillion is the only team in Class A or B currently positioned for a state-qualifier game that has played less than eight games, as the Tanagers have played six.
Auch said teams that have less than eight games will be moved to the bottom of the standings, below every team that's played eight games or more and seeded as such: The team that played the most games will be the highest seed and the team with the fewest games played will be the lowest seed, regardless of seed points.
Should Vermillion not reach the required eight games, it would fall to No. 17 in the standings, behind Milbank (0-8, 34.500 seed points) and ahead of Sisseton (four games) and Lakota Tech (one game), slotting Milbank into the SoDak 16. But Auch is optimistic all teams will reach the required eight games and lauded athletic directors for scheduling and rescheduling games throughout the spring.
“Our athletic directors are amazing,” she said. “They’re creating opportunities for these kids to make it work. It hasn’t been a fun spring season … trying to figure out how to reschedule and fit all these things in but they’re doing an amazing job.”