When I decided to put a list of the top high school pitchers together, I had no idea how tough it would be. There are a lot of great pitchers in South Dakota. So feel free to read my list and agree or disagree with me. Next week I’ll put out my top 10 from North Dakota but here is my list of top hurlers from South Dakota:
Number 10 Lincoln’s Isaac Rubendall has shown tremendous growth as a pitcher in his four years at Lincoln. He’s a power pitcher who relies on his competitiveness and work ethic to improve each outing. The one thing that would move him up this list is his control. When he’s on and throwing strikes he’s right up with the best of the best.
Number 9 Brett Mogen is not only the best hitter for Dells he’s their ace pitcher too on a staff that’s deep. Brett recorded a 0.52 ERA last season with 73 K’s and is off to another great start for Dells. The Senior is off to SDSU next season.
Number 8 Mitch Hoover of Brandon Valley is just a junior but had a break out sophomore campaign with just one walk in 28 innings of work. That’s control folks. He’s coming back from an injury this year and when he’s healthy is one of the best in the state.
Number 7 Jackson Olson/Spencer Koellwyn are connected because they’re connected as the top pitchers for Sioux Falls Christian. They both love to pitch and push each other to be better. Spencer was a pitch away from a perfect game earlier this year and Jackson threw a 1-hitter against a good Garretson team. Both pitchers ERA was below one last year and both are out to a good start this year.
Number 6 Kelly O’Bryan is the ace of a solid Winner/Colome staff as a junior. He has a 1.23 career ERA that keeps going down. His coach Drew Weber says he has a combination curve, Knuckle-curve and a four-seam fastball that he mixes speeds very well with.
Number 5 Chase Kortan has been the ace at Bon Homme/Scotland for years and he’s just a junior this year. Last season the all-state pitcher fired 44 K’s in 29 innings and this year was part of a combined no-hitter in their opener and followed it up with a 2-hitter with 11 K’s in his second start.
Number 4 Tyler Olmstead is the other ace at Washington. Tyler is an incredibly smart pitcher. He uses knowledge of hitters he’s faced in the past to his advantage. He can throw the heater in the high 80s and mixes in the slider and change effectively. So far he’s 3-0 with 20Ks in 14 Innings this year and has yet to allow an earned run.
Number 3 Pierre has the luxury of having a closer as one of the best in the state. Quinn Reimers according to his coach Steve Gray has the “Tough Guy Mentality”. He’s a great wrestler on the mat and also on the mound. So far this year he’s pitched in relief four times, recorded 3 saves on 16 outs and 12 have been strikeouts. Dominant.
Number 2 George Eccarius is the top lefty on the list. The senior southpaw’s ERA was 0.32 last year and gave up just 8 hits in 22 innings while striking out 1.8 batters per inning. Eccarius is headed to Washburn University to pitch next year.
Number 1 The top pitcher is Nolan Burchill of Lincoln. He helped the Pats to a championship as a sophomore and last year threw 51 K’s in 32 innings to lead Lincoln to the final four. According to his coach Jordon Johnson, “He’s the complete package”. He can throw from 85-90 consistently. He’s as good against lefties as he is to righties because of the movement on his ball. His slider and curve are devastating. But maybe his best quality is his calmness. He doesn’t get shaken on the mound and “wins” the mental game. Nolan is headed to Minnesota to pitch with the Gophers next year.
Best of the rest:
I strongly considered many more pitchers, here are a few of those in no particular order:
Alex Bertram, SF Washington
Jed Schmidt, Mitchell
Gus Radel, Roosevelt
Austin Wise, Roosevelt
Lucas Heiser, Aberdeen
Connor Hurley, O’Gorman
Keehnan Coyle, Washington
Trevor Wallen, Brookings
Mason Townsend, Yankton
Reed Harter, Winner/Colome