ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

On a roster flush with future college athletes, Dylan Soulek continues to stand out for Mitchell Post 18

This summer, the spring second-team all-stater holds team-best marks for average (.436), on-base percentage (.579), runs (46) and walks drawn (28) entering the postseason. He also ranks second in hits (44) — including eight doubles and four triples — and is third on the team with 29 RBIs.

6-8-22Post18vsBVPost131-37.jpg
Mitchell Post 18's Dylan Soulek prepares to round third base while receiving a sign from coach Luke Norden during Game 1 of an American Legion baseball doubleheader against Sioux Falls Post 15 East on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Cadwell Park.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
We are part of The Trust Project.

MITCHELL — Talent is overflowing from the Mitchell Post 18 dugout.

Eight of the 10 players who have seen the field most for Mitchell throughout the spring high school and American Legion summer seasons are seniors, six of whom will continue their baseball careers collegiately next year. Additionally, four of those six earned places on the all-state baseball teams this past spring.

The competitive environment created by that collection of seasoned starters has driven everyone on Mitchell's roster to improve and helped the team to thrive as a result. Yet, it's a junior who's not-so-silently put together perhaps the squad's most impressive summer campaign on the heels of a great spring that garnered a second-team all-state selection.

Dylan Soulek can do a little bit of everything.

That is precisely why, as a junior, he's already nearing the conclusion of his second season with the Post 18 varsity teamThis spring, Soulek was a driving force in Mitchell High School's run to the state championship game, but that production level has been dwarfed by an even greater summer output.

ADVERTISEMENT

Soulek has appeared in all 62 games between the spring and summer, the only Mitchell player to do so. During the spring, Soulek posted a .412 batting average and .505 on-base percentage, which ranked third and sixth for MHS, respectively. He also shared the team lead with 35 hits, while scoring 30 runs and driving in 18 more from his No. 2 spot in the lineup.

On the opening night of Post 18's Legion season — just three days after a tough loss in the high school state title game — Soulek got the start on the mound. Facing the defending Class A state champions from Renner Post 307, the right-hander tossed a complete game shutout with six strikeouts and just four hits allowed. If that wasn't enough, with the Mitchell offense being held in check, Soulek sent a high fly over the left field fence at Drake Field, driving in the only runs of the contest in a 2-0 win.

5-31-22Post18vPost307-7.jpg
Mitchell Post 18's Dylan Soulek connects with a swing during an American Legion baseball contest against Renner Post 307 on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at Drake Field.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

It set the tone for what has shaped into an exceptional summer, particularly at the plate.

This summer, Soulek owns team-best marks for batting average (.436), on-base percentage (.579), runs (46) and walks drawn (28) entering the postseason. He also ranks second in hits (44) — including eight doubles and four triples — and is third on the team with 29 RBIs.

"Hitting-wise, he's really come into his own in terms of his eye at the plate," said Mitchell baseball coach Luke Norden. "It's phenomenal. I'd say he's got the best eye I've seen all year out of anybody."

"And for being one of our best hitters, I've never once seen him go and try to do something more than he should," Norden continued. "He understands the strike zone so well and understands what we need out of him. That's what's allowed his numbers to improve the way they have."

In addition to being relied upon as the normal starter at shortstop, Soulek has racked up 51 innings on the mound since April and owns a 2.90 earned run average in more than 31 innings this summer.

5-31-22Post18vPost307-32.jpg
Mitchell Post 18's Dylan Soulek delivers a pitch during the Legion season-opener against Renner Post 307 on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at Drake Field.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

The soon-to-be senior attributes his constant improvement, especially over the past four months, to several factors. Among them are confidence, Norden's trust and an environment that drives him to continue his growth as a player.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I think it's been about keeping a lot of confidence. A lot of my success goes back to coach putting his trust in me," Soulek said. "And then I just trust the process. Coming into practice every day wanting to work and get better at something has been a huge part of not only my success, but everyone's success as well."

When it comes to what sets him apart from the opposition, though, Soulek feels his biggest edge falls within the mental side of the game.

"It's all about preparation for me," Soulek explained. "I think the mindset I take into a game is just on a different level. When I get focused, nothing else matters; it's just straight tunnel vision."

While Soulek has one more season remaining as a prep athlete, his baseball career is likely to extend beyond next year. Just like a half-dozen of his current teammates, Soulek is giving serious consideration to playing college baseball — and he's heard from "a couple" schools — though those plans have yet to take any definite shape.

But one thing is for sure: Dylan Soulek will remain an invaluable asset to Mitchell baseball for as long as he's wearing black and gold.

6-8-22Post18vsBVPost131-54.jpg
Mitchell Post 18's Dylan Soulek looks to make a throw from one knee after corralling a hard-hit ball during Game 1 of an American Legion baseball doubleheader against Brandon Valley Post 131 on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at Drake Field.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
What To Read Next
The Red Raiders erased a 35-26 halftime deficit by opening the second half on a 17-4 run.
Members Only
DWU girls defeat Northwestern, 55-41 & DWU boys fall to Northwestern, 65-62.
“The thing that stuck out ... was defense,” coach Jason Christensen said. “To hold them to 22% shooting in that fourth quarter … you hold a Northwestern team to 41 points, that’s pretty remarkable.”
This year's event tips off Friday with a nine-game slate of girls basketball games and continues Saturday with nine more boys basketball games.