SD Class A State Tournament
Saturday May 24, 2014 – 10:00am Cadwell Park in Mitchell, SD
Lincoln (12-3) vs. Brookings (19-11)
The Patriots have lost just three games this year, those losses have come to O’Gorman (4-3 on 4/7) and Brandon Valley (9-5, and 7-2 on 4/22 and 5/1). Since their last loss the Pats have gone 6-0 and have seemed to hit their stride. They beat Washington in the regional semifinal with an outstanding pitching performance from Dayton Braley, then they beat Brandon Valley in the regional championship game with good hitting and a strong pitching performance from Nolan Burchill. Lincoln’s deep lineup has kept them in most games. Their timely hitting has improved and helped them win many close games this year. Bobby Grady, Brody Kunzman, Griffin Lockwood-Powell, Jack Revier, Josh Nevin, Parker Bullard, Paul Thanel and Sam Lockwood-Powell are just a few of the consistent hitters that have made the difference for the Patriots.
Manager Wes Robertson says he ready to ride two pitchers and use them both if needed to get to the championship game Saturday night. I presume those pitchers are Braley and Burchill. If they get solid pitching from them they should be in good shape.
The Bobcats have been up and down this year, but they’ve proven they can beat anyone in the state. Every single in-state loss they’ve had they’ve avenged at a later date. Brookings hasn’t played Lincoln yet this year which should make this an intriguing matchup. Pitching and defense has always been a staple for the Bobcats under manager Ryan Bauer,
“Our pitching has put us into position to win every game. Much like we have been for several years. We have always been good on the mound. Our hitting has to be the facet that has been a little up and down this year. Our catching has also been real good this year. Takes a little pressure off of our pitchers to focus on the hitter more,” said Bauer.
The Bobcats also feature one of the top hitters in the state in Thomas McMacken, the future Jackrabbit baseball player. McMacken hit .358 with 9 extra base hits in the regular season including 3 home runs. He leads the team in RBI’s with 28 and doesn’t strikeout much. The rest of the offense has been improving getting more timely hitting down the stretch. Garrett Jeppesen only has 38 AB but is hitting .421 and Jordal Lerdal, Cody Shepardson, Mack Burns and Corey Roach have all been consistent hitters in the middle of the Bobcat lineup.
Saturday May 24, 2014 – 1:00pm Cadwell Park in Mitchell, SD
Pierre (15-5) vs. SF O’Gorman (14-13)
The Governors are no strangers to close games but last weekend was ridiculous. They edged Rapid City Stevens 3-2 in the regional semifinal then took an extra inning to score the one and only run of the game against Rapid City Central. Isaac Grode pitched a beautiful seven shutout innings with 6 strikeouts. Then Cooper Walton pitched a scoreless eighth inning. In the bottom of the 8th Ben Leidholt singled in the game winner and Pierre advances to the state tournament.
“We are pitching well right now. We are playing well because of senior leadership,” said manager Steve Gray.
Expect a well-rested Isaac Grode to emerge as the stopper in the early game on Saturday. Grode has been amazing this year especially when factoring in his rehab after an injury sidelined him last year. But Gray says he’s got Cooper Walton, Alex Gray, Quinn Reimers and Nick Raybern all ready to throw. When Pierre plays great defense they get great results. That’s what they’ll focus on doing Saturday in Mitchell to try to advance to the finals. Connor Ryan, Ben Leidholt, Cash Anderson, Blake Dean, Bo Atkins and Justin Berheim have all been key factors on the offense
O’Gorman is familiar with making the state tournament. They last won it all in 2012, since then they’ve changed coaches twice but managed to make it back to state both times. This season Jack Van Leur has led the Knights as their manager. He’s seen his team struggle through some tough stretches on the schedule but they’re able to compete with some of the best teams in the state nonetheless. They’ve now won six of their last seven games and are one of the toughest teams going into the state tournament. Sam Nesbitt put together his best pitching performance of the year in their win over Roosevelt to make it to state. Look for solid hitters AJ Martinec, Alex Linneman, Eion Donelan, and Justin Kautz among others to make an impact for the knights.