South Dakota Diamond Report: Bon Homme/Avon, Howard remain unbeaten in Class B baseball

Checking in with area baseball and softball programs in the final week of regular season play.

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Bon Homme's Logan Winckler delivers a pitch during a high school baseball game against Parkston on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Parkston.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — As time winds down on the regular season, Bon Homme/Avon and Howard maintain the final two undefeated records in Class B baseball.

Currently positioned as the No. 1 seed in Region 1 and Region 2, respectively, BHA and Howard have secured hosting privileges on the road to the state tournament in Sioux Falls.

On the way to a 12-0 record, BHA has shown a high-powered offense, scoring double-digit runs in seven games. Augustana baseball commit Riley Rothschadl, who also pitched a five-inning perfect game on Monday, leads the way with a mammoth 1.417 slugging percentage behind eight home runs and 37 runs batted in. But BHA has several other capable hitters, as Landon Bares (17), Easton Mudder (16), Brady Bierema (12) and Logan Winckler (12) all have double-figure RBIs, as well.

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The Augustana baseball commit is hitting .700 with five home runs through seven games and recently had a four-homer contest against Centerville.

Also challenging at the top of Region 1 is Dakota Valley (12-1), whose lone defeat came at the hands of Bon Homme/Avon, 7-3 on April 24.

Elsewhere in Region 1, Scotland/Menno (8-4) and Parkston/Ethan/Tripp (7-5) are locked in a battle for fourth and fifth in the standings. Wagner/Lake Andes (5-5) currently sits in seventh, while Canistota/Freeman/Marion (4-6) is in eighth, battling to maintain a position for postseason qualification in their first season as a varsity program.


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“We finally have a (varsity) team, so that’s exciting,” said coach Dustin Tschetter. “We’re extremely young, but it’s exciting to see these kids out here competing and having fun.”

At the top of Region 2 with a 9-0 record, Howard has relied on commanding pitching and defense paired with steady offense. The Tigers have allowed more than three runs in a game once (a 7-5 win over Redfield Area), shutting out three opponents.

On the mound, Luke Koepsell and Colby Claussen have each appeared in a team-high four games while each maintaining a sub-.800 earned run average. Jack Neises and Griffin Clubb have each added at least 9 2/3 innings of work, as Howard's team batting average against is .178 with an ERA of 1.125. Behind that pitching, the Tigers have a team fielding percentage of .950.

Close behind Howard is Redfield Area (7-1) in second and Groton Area (6-2) in third. Wolsey-Wessington/Miller-Highmore/Wessington Springs (2-5) is eighth with an identical record to seventh-place Hamlin Area and one fewer loss than ninth-place Elkton/Lake Benton.

A pair of Sioux Falls-area programs — Tea Area (12-3) and Dell Rapids (10-1) — occupy the top spots in Region 3. Behind them, McCook Central/Montrose (6-2) stands in third place, while Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney (5-5) is seventh.

In Region 4, Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian/White Lake and Winner/Colome have secured the regional tournament hosting rights and lead the way at 7-2. Belle Fourche (9-2) is third in the region, followed by Gregory County (6-2) and Chamberlain/Kimball/Lyman (4-5).

Lead-Deadwood has already been eliminated from postseason contention, meaning the region's eight postseason qualifiers are set, as St. Thomas More, Rapid City Christian and Hot Springs round out the field.

Bon Homme's Kenadee Kozak (6) delivers a pitch against Winner Area during a varsity softball triangular on May 8, 2023, in Wagner.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Softball: Bon Homme challenging for top seed in Class B

Approaching seeding for the SoDak 16 in the inaugural season of SDHSAA-sanctioned softball, Bon Homme is in line to host as a top-four seed in Class B.


Arlington (10-2), Alcester-Hudson (7-1) and Castlewood (5-3) hold down the top three spots, with Bon Homme (8-3) just ahead of Gayville-Volin (10-5) to round out the top five.

Of note, since there are 13 teams in Class B this season, the top three after the regular season receive a bye into the state tournament field.

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.

Pitching and defense have been strengths for the Cavaliers, who allow 5.7 runs per game, the second-fewest in the class.

Kenadee Kozak has handled the bulk of duties in the circle, pitching 51 2/3 innings with 66 strikeouts and a 4.335 earned run average. As a team, the Cavs own a fielding percentage of .863, as they've allowed more than eight runs in a contest just once this season.

Bon Homme is also adept at manufacturing offense. Three players with at least 25 at-bats own an on-base percentage upward of .500 — Jurni Vavruska (.559), Taycee Ranek (.528) and Kozak (.514) — while all regular starters reach base at least one-third of the time.

Elsewhere in Class B, Freeman/Marion/Freeman Academy (5-6) is eighth and Hanson (3-7) is ninth, as the pair would face off for a spot in the state tournament if SoDak 16 seeding happened on Tuesday.

FMFA has been among the most effective offensive teams in the class, putting up 10.9 runs per game. Four of the Phoenix's losses this season have come against Bon Homme or Class A Wagner (two each)

Avon (2-8) is 13th in the standings and would be paired against Bon Homme if current positions hold.


In Class A, everyone is chasing unbeaten West Central (14-0), which won the past seven club softball state titles. To date, the Trojans are averaging 14.2 runs while surrendering 0.7 per game, both the best marks in the class.

Leading the chase is Dell Rapids (9-1), whose lone loss was a 5-4 final against West Central, as Dakota Valley (13-5), Madison (13-3) and Tea Area (7-5) round out the top five.

Winner Area (7-4), currently in sixth, ranks as the top area squad, as Wagner (6-5) is a few spots back in 10th. The Warriors and Red Raiders split a pair of regular-season meetings.

If the SoDak 16 were seeded on Tuesday, Winner Area would play No. 11 Flandreau (6-11) and Wagner would be up against No. 7 Elk Point-Jefferson (9-6).

The regular season wraps up on Saturday, May 20. SoDak 16 contests across all classes are slated to take place Tuesday, May 23, with the higher seed hosting the contest.

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 and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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