Sports Preview Spring 2023

Page 1


supplement to the Mitchell Republic

New season for Kernel track boasts promising talent

Returning letterwinners, multi-sport athletes boost MHS outlook

— There are two themes emerging early in the season for the Mitchell High School track and field program.

One, the program has 50 returning letterwinners between the boys and girls programs. And No. 2, they have a large number of multi-sport athletes who are participating this year.

Considering those two elements, coach Deb Thill is both pleased with the makeup of this year’s team and its outlook for 2023.

“We are really enjoying this season as a coaching staff, because these kids know our expectations,” Thill said. “We have our entire coaching staff back and that’s going to be helpful. … The kids have been doing amazing. They’re respectful, they’re responsible and they’re putting forth great effort.”

The team has been in practice since Feb. 27 but remains itching to compete. The Kernels hit the track at the Dan Lennon Invitational in Vermillion on March 27 and then had the April 1 ESD Indoor Meet in Brookings canceled due to the weather conditions around the state.

“We’ve all been very anxious to get started and start competing because we want to get out there and see what our full potential is,” senior Lizzie Tyler said.

Mitchell’s girls roster includes Tyler, who won the 400-meter race at Dan Lennon meet, one of a handful of experienced sprinters on the team. She’s joined by fellow seniors Brooke Bartscher and Claire Hegg. Other top track


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Returning letterwinners for Mitchell High School girls track and field include, front row from left, Halle Haring, Breanna Kirsch, Makenzie Peterson, Emerson Smith, Keyana Kelley, Aubrey Gelderman, Sidney Malde, Delana Henkel, Kyra Gropper, Emily Moody and Mia Mullenmeister. Back row: Madeline Vogel, Brooke Bartscher, Lizzie Tyler, Lainee Forst, Claire Hegg, Macey Linke, Lilly Young, Taylor DeJong and Bobbi Jo Middendorp. Not pictured: Ava Brannan, Alyssa Magee, Addie Siemsen and Carsyn Weich. Photos by Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic Returning letterwinners for Mitchell High School boys track and field include, front row from left, Bryce Palmer, Carter Harris, Grayson Hetland, Lukas Bennett, Thadan Milliken-Auch, DJ Sheets and Tristen Jellis. Middle row: Dustin Kurtenbach, Kellan Odell, Nathan McCormick, Brenen Rose, Abe Gunnare, August Anderson, Trey Austell, Carson Jennings and Myles Estrada. Back row: Jagger Tyler, Carter Van Overschelde, Connor Singrey, Treyson Schulz, Lincoln Bates, A.J. Siemsen, Brady Wilson and Noah Pudwill. Not pictured: Carson Podhradsky.

Fresh faces, similar expectations for MHS baseball entering 2023 season

MITCHELL — It’s a reload, not a rebuild for the Mitchell High School baseball program leading into the 2023 spring season.

Last spring, the Kernels finished as Class A state runners-up and followed it with another top-four finish during the summer American Legion season. With a large senior class that regularly accounted for eight of the nine starting positions graduating since then, it has opened up ample opportunities in the lineup for the seven returners from last season and a

The Original

wave of newcomers.

“In high school baseball, we’re dealt the cards and know we can’t change them,” Mitchell head coach Luke Norden said. “It’s nice to see a new hand.

“These guys are really excited about baseball. We have two smaller junior and senior classes and a large influx of sophomores to start getting experience early that they can build on,” he continued. “I’m really excited with the guys we have here.”

Chief among those returning is senior Dylan Soulek, a mainstay at shortstop last year who was named all-state during both the spring

and summer. Last spring, Soulek batted .412 and had an on-base percentage of .505. He tied for the team lead in hits (35), was second in runs scored (30) and fourth in RBIs (18) and stolen bases (seven).

“We’re going to need (Soulek) to drive more runs in for us this year,” Norden said. “In order for him to do that, he’s going to have to have a couple of guys behind him that are doing a really good job of knocking the ball around, too.”

Among the other returners from last year’s team include Peyton Schroder, Hudson Haley, Peyton Man-

del, Gavin Soukup, Karter Sibson and Lincoln Bates.

Last season, from the beginning of the spring season to the end of the summer, there was a minimal shuffling of the lineup or batting order. However, Norden said that might not be the case this year, as he emphasizes finding combinations that “protect” some of the Kernels’ best hitters.

“Some of those guys that were in the lineup last year are going to be in a new spot,” Norden said. “We’ve got to have guys that are very capable of doing multiple things, and I think we have some guys that

are going to fit the mold throughout the lineup.”

Alongside Soulek, Sibson was effective in his opportunities last spring, posting a .389 batting average across 28 plate appearances. Mandel was .364 in 12 plate appearances, and Bates and Schroder each checked in at .333, though the pair combined for just 11 plate appearances.

On the mound, Norden stressed the importance of having a dugout full of players who can go out and feel confident pounding the strike zone with pitches. While many of his top arms from last season departed, Soulek and Schroder tossed

19 2/3 and 19 innings, respectively, last spring, while Mandel recorded 8 2/3, with a minimum of six appearances between the three of them.

“Our biggest thing is going to be having these younger kids get on the mound and throw strikes,” Norden said. “We’re going to be just as good as anybody if we get some younger guys that want to jump up on the mound, get the ball in play and have our defense play (because) we’ve got a handful of those guys that took a lot of pride in making plays and doing really well (defensively).

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Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic Returning letterwinners for Mitchell High School baseball include, front row from left, Hudson Haley, Karter Sibson and Peyton Schroder. Back row: Peyton Mandel, Dylan Soulek, Gavin Soukup and Lincoln Bates.


MITCHELL — It’s been 18 months since varsity softball was played under the Mitchell Kernels banner, and that wait is soon to be over.

The curtain raises with the start of the spring 2023 softball season, as the sport makes its debut as a sanctioned activity under the purview of the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

Led by head coach Kent Van Overschelde and assistant Kindra Clark, the Mitchell High School softball program is approaching the opportunity to build a new varsity program with great enthusiasm and a hard-working mindset.

“There is definitely a sense of excitement, and our first week of practice was a demonstration of that with the effort and enthusiasm of our team,” Van Overschelde said.

“And I think once the games start, our fans and community will be excited about adding another activity to the experience of high school sports.”

With the transition from a club-based system to an SDHSAA activity and the year-and-a-half layoff — the club varsity seasons were played in the fall, with Mitchell’s last participation in 2021 — there’s also an added feeling of being afforded a fresh start and building the foundation for a new sports program.

As the Kernels look to tackle this inaugural season, they’ll do so with plenty of youth. Of the 23-person roster, seven are juniors or seniors. As such, Van Overschelde is looking for leadership from up and down the ranks.

Senior Alyssa Magee, who will hold down the catcher spot, is one of those upperclassmen who will be looked to as the Kernels bridge the gap. Van Overschelde identified several underclassmen who have already started to step into vocal leadership roles such as freshmen Kenna Soulek and Emma Hegg as well

as sophomore Lauren Van Overschelde.

Sophomore Macey Linke — who will juggle softball with track and field — and freshman Mallory Miedema are also among those Kent Van Overschelde expects to have an impact early on.

“It’s just been exciting. We have girls that bring that experience of competition (in other sports) along with the girls that have been super committed to softball at the club level, and that has developed a real positive mix,” Van Overschelde said of seeing the roster come together. “With

the variety of experiences our players have, they’ve been very positive and helping mentor each other. Not everyone can be an MVP, but everyone can be MVLs — most valuable leaders.”

With a younger group, the early focus has been on playing sound fundamental softball. Among the points of emphasis has been running the bases, making the most out of the Kernels’ speed and athleticism once they’re able to reach base safely.

“We’ve been able to focus on fundamentals at this point and

(we are) really trying to build on the ability to run the bases,” Van Overschelde said. “We’re going to utilize those strengths and, of course, if you’re going to be good at running bases, you better find a way to get on base. I’ve just seen growth even in our first week of learning from what we’ve set as an expectation for the program.

“We’re combining the spirit of being a Mitchell Kernel and putting on the black and gold with what I think is a natural fit to have softball in the spring,” Van

re-energize developing the programs that will secure Mitchell can build a strong tradition of softball.”

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take on inaugural
Overschelde added. “I think that there’s going to be some super competitive softball played, and that can only help enthusiasm
season with
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic
Upperclassmen on the inaugural Mitchell High School softball team include, front row from left, Brooklyn Jarding, Delaney Degen and Paige Vander Heiden. Back row: Mya Moran, Mady Thompson, Lily Peterson, Alyssa Magee and Ayla Zilla. Not pictured: Evany Clemente.

Kernel girls golf sets high goals for 2023

MHS carries confidence from back-to-back state second-place finishes

MITCHELL — The Mitchell High School girls golf team is a state title contender this season.

After back-to-back state runner-up finishes at the Class AA state meet, that’s not something the Kernels are shying away from in 2023. All six state meet golfers from 2022 are back on the roster this season, with three retuners who finished in

the top-25. “I feel like this team has a lot to prove and they want to prove it,”

Kernel coach Jeff Meyerink said. “They’re going to go out there and give it their best. There is no team that works harder than this team, and I think we saw that last year.”

Meyerink said it’s OK for his team to believe in that and work toward that goal given how they got a taste of that success in 2022, sitting on the 18-hole lead at

the state tournament in Brookings before being passed by Harrisburg, which went on to win by three team strokes.

“They’ve given me their goals for the year and I can tell you they are very high,” he said. “In 2021, we felt like we were playing for second because O’Gorman was just that good. Last year, being in it and competing at that level, our team got a taste of it. Bringing everyone back is a huge part of

the confidence.”

The Kernels are led by two seniors in Lara Widstrom and Jayli Rients, and Meyerink credited both for their vast improvement last season and for their abilities to provide guidance to the team.

“They keep practice fun and focused,” coach Meyerink said. “They’re always asking their teammates about their rounds and how they’re feeling about it. They don’t care about their

‘Young and excited’ Mitchell Christian track and field team setting big goals

MITCHELL — Mitchell Christian School track and field may be young, but the Golden Eagles have lofty goals.

With just one returning letterwinner from a season ago, fresh faces are littered throughout the roster for MCS heading into the 2023 campaign.

But the unknown also brings with it optimism for first-year head coach Ryan Chase, who’s building a fresh culture at MCS.

“I think there are several kids who could qualify for state,” Chase said. “If everyone stays healthy and keeps working hard, we have a chance to qualify some people in relays. And I

think there’s a chance even for some school records to be close to falling or actually be broken this year.”

Joseph Tegethoff is the lone letterwinner from a season ago for the Golden Eagles. He returns for his junior season likely to be featured in the long jump, as well as several distance competitions, specializing in the twomile run.

Chase also pointed to senior Nahum Anderberg, who missed last season after an injury he suffered during basketball, as someone who could have a big season for the Golden Eagles.

On top of Anderberg, eighth-grader Silas Holdeman figures to be a staple in Mitchell Christian’s distance lineup


after showing his prowess in cross country with a sixth-place state finish in Class B in October.

Fellow eighth-grader Carson Johnson will likely see action in sprints and long jumps and a pair of freshmen in Josh Brandt and Carter Lee will also help build the 4x100 relay team, Chase said.

The opportunity for this season to be a year of growth is there for the Golden Eagles, but Chase said while there’s a bright future ahead of his squad, this year could be a part of that bright future.

“I think we have some kids who long-term, several years down the road, have some incredible potential,” Chase said. “And so I think

that’s kind of what we’re trying to build toward. But this year, we’re trying to just kind of get the foundation set.”

Part of setting that foundation comes in building a culture, and Chase said his team is “buying in,” and he expects to see even more buy in as the year progresses. Chase said this season will be a chance for his athletes to try different events to really find what they’re good at.

“Everyone’s just excited to try and I think that’s the best thing because you have some kids who want to do sprints, but then realize they’re really good at mid-distance,” Chase said. “... This team is young and excited.”


own rounds as much as they care about the team.”

“We’re a really tight group of girls,” Widstrom said. “We’ve gotten runner-up the last two years. We’ve got that fire in us from that and we want this to be our year. I’m really excited to go all out with this group of girls and give it everything we can.”

Meyerink’s daughter, Allison, returns as the Kernels’ top scorer

from last season. Now a junior, she finished third at the Class AA state meet and held the 18-hole lead in the individual competition. Jeff Meyerink said that was a good experience, even if it was a little painful to see that lead slip away.

“Allison had a really good season,” the coach said. “She had the lowest round of the tournament, and a taste of

GOLF: Page 9

Even with the weather and amount of snow still on the ground, Chase has made sure his team has gotten outside as much as possible in preparation for the season.

“When it comes to workouts and sprints, we’ve almost always been outside,” Chase said.

“We’ve been braving the elements. We don’t want to have to do things in a gym or in a school if we can be outside and so we’ve just been building that toughness by being outside dealing with whatever comes on and adapting, improvising and overcoming.” mitchell republic, mitchell, S.D. | SaturDay, april 8, 2023 | 2023 SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW | 5
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Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic Joseph Tegethoff is Mitchell Christian School track and field’s lone returning letterwinner. Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic Returning letterwinners for Mitchell High School girls golf include, from left, Mia Larson, Raegan Sperl, Jayli Rients, Lara Widstrom, Allison Meyerink, Quinn Dannenbring, Ava Eliason and Anna Eliason. Not pictured: Maddie Childs.

Four storylines to watch for the Class B high school baseball season

MITCHELL — The South Dakota high school baseball season awaits, with a number of key storylines to watch for the 2023 spring season.

The state tournament is set to be played in Sioux Falls once again, with the quarterfinal round scheduled for Monday, May 29, followed by the semifinals and championship on Tuesday, May 30.

Here are four storylines to watch:

Can anyone stop

Dell Rapids?

The story in Class B is going to revolve around how good Dell Rapids has been over the last few seasons. Dells has won the last two state championships, including an 11-5 title game win over Dakota Valley last season.

Jackson Henry, a three-sport athlete who excels as a pitcher, returns as a junior for Dell Rapids, which also brings back Will Jaton, C.J. Smith, Brayden Pankonen and Dylan Mathis as well from the state title team in 2022.

The Panthers return with a strong roster, with pitcher Jake Pruchniak (a University of Sioux Falls commit) leading the way. A number of Dakota Valley’s state title basketball standouts are solid on the diamond as well, with Jaxon Hennies and Randy Rosenquist, as well as returning allstate second team pick Isaac Bruns out on the field.


looks strong again

Dell Rapids is one of four baseball programs that sent state tournament teams in both the spring high school and summer American Legion season. The others include West Central, Redfield and Winner/ Colome, with the Royals from Tripp County as ones to watch.

Aiden Barfuss led the way during both seasons, including hitting .543 during the high school season and .558 during the Legion season, which included a four-home run hitting performance in the Class B Legion tournament in Gregory. That tournament was won by Vermillion 8-7 over Winner/Colome in extra innings.

Ethan Bartels returns as a top pitcher for Winner/Colome, along with Justin Hausmann, Barfuss and Zach Olson. Pierce Nelson, Landon Calhoon and Jack Peters are among the other key returners for the Royals, who have made the state high school tournament in three of the last four seasons.

Rothschadl powers

Bon Homme

Augustana Universi-


PlatteGeddes/ Dakota Christian/ White Lake pitcher Dawson Hoffman delivers to home plate during the Class B state high school baseball quarterfinals on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at Sioux Falls Stadium.

Photos by Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

Winner/Colome third baseman Aiden Barfuss throws the ball across the diamond during the Class B state high school baseball quarterfinals on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at Ronken Field in Sioux Falls.

ty baseball signee Riley Rothschadl is going to be one of the area players to watch this spring, as Bon Homme brings back a solid lineup for 2023. He was a finalist for Class B high school player of the year in 2022.

Rothschadl, an infielder and pitcher who helped Tabor win the 2021 Class B state Legion title, returns for his senior season and is expected to be a key cog for the Cavaliers in 2023, who also bring back all-region selections in juniors Easton Mudder and Landon Bares.

Who will be the area’s surprise squad?

The spring high school season always points to a few upstart squads to watch.

Last season, Parkston returned to the state tournament with a 14-5 record and brings back Brayden Jervik and Kaleb Weber to this year’s squad.

Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian/White Lake was 13-1 last season, with the lone loss coming in the Class B state quarterfinals at the hands of Madison.

The Honkers have been a consistently strong program and return Aiden

Bultje, Dawson Hoffman and Jaxon Christensen all as seniors this season.

Another team to watch is Gregory County, which reached the final four of the state American Legion tournament, which it hosted last August. Gregory County has returning second-team all-state selection Rylan Peck as a junior, plus all-region selections Trey Murry and Gannon Thomas.

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Top Mitchell area track and field talents to watch this spring

Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — As a new track season continues to ramp up, several Mitchell-area athletes begin their pursuit of repeat state titles and top podium finishes. There are bound to be breakout performers along the way, but here are 11 area track and field standouts from last year to keep an eye on as this season.


Melanie Calmus, Howard

Last season, as a freshman, Melanie Calmus recorded a top-four placement in Class B at the state meet in all three sprinting events, including a runner-up finish in the 100-meter dash.

Among returning athletes for the 2023 season, Calmus had the sec-

ond-best 100-meter time (12.62 seconds) last year, along with the third-best times in the 200 (26.19) and 400 (59.49).

Berkeley Engelland, Mount Vernon/ Plankinton

One of the elite shortand middle-distance runners in the state regardless of class, Berkeley Engelland is coming off a 2022 season that saw her win the Class A 400 and 800 meters with a runner-up finish in the 200 and third-place mark in the 100.

From last season, Engelland owns the best overall times among all Class A returning athletes in the 800 (2 minutes, 11.75 seconds), 400 (56.20) and 200 meters (25.59), with the second-best 100-meter mark (12.56). She’s also

TRACK: Page 9

Gregory, Ethan boys among top contenders for Class B state golf title

MITCHELL — The warmup

that comes with spring also brings on South Dakota’s high school golf season, with competition involving all three girls classes and Class B boys.

In Class B boys competition, Gregory won the 2022 state championship, edging Garretson by five strokes. Class B individual co-champions Coy Determan, of Gregory, and Bennett Cassens, of Faulkton Area, were both seniors, meaning there will be a new state champion this year.

Last year’s Class B boys


From Page 2

athletes to watch include Lainey Forst, Keyana Kelley, Carsyn Weich, Mia Mullenmeister, Ava Brannan and Addie Siemsen. Tyler, Hegg, Forst and Weich teamed up to finish sixth in the 2022 distance medley relay in the Class AA state meet.

“I’m eager to see what we can do in the relays,” Tyler said. “We’ve got a lot of athletes that are going to give us a lot of different options and combinations in those races.”

Sidney Malde will be among the girls’ top hurdlers, while Emily Moody, Weich, Audrey Miller and Halle Haring will be athletes to watch in the jumping events. Lilly Young and Taylor DeJong are the team’s top throwers and

championship was one round, as Round 2 was not completed due to inclement weather in Rapid City. Gregory figures to compete for the state title again this year, with Trey Murray, Kade Stukel and Eli Fogel — all of whom finished in the top 14 — all returning this season.

Ethan’s Kody Klumb placed tied for third in 2022 as a junior, one stroke behind the leaders. Howard’s Lane Hodges tied for seventh last season and also returns for his senior season.

In Class B girls competition, Miller eighth-grader Jayce Pugh followed up her

Aubrey Gelderman will be participating in the pole vault. Young was 13th in the shot put in last year’s state meet, while DeJong was seventh at the Lennon in the shot put.

“We have the potential to be pretty good,” Thill said of the Kernels’ girls squad.

Gelderman, a sophomore, is expected to be Kernel girls leader with the pole vault, while Carter Harris leads the Kernel boys. Both were top-10 finishers in the pole vault event at the Dan Lennon meet.

“We went through a drought for about two or three years without a pole vault coach, and we have Jordan McKean leading the way with the coaching,” Thill said. “He does a great job and they’re going to keep getting better.”

Expect to see the Kernels have a presence in

seventh-grade state champion by finishing tied for first with Bison/Hettinger/Scranton’s Greta Anderson.

Adisyn Indahl returns for Burke after she finished in fifth place last year, as the lone Mitchell-area representative in the top 10. She helped Burke to a sixth-place finish as a team, seven strokes behind Howard, which finished fifth. Trinity Palmquist and Piper Thompson return for the Tigers as seniors this season after finishing tied-for-19th and 38th, respectively, last year. Bison/Hettinger/Scranton took home first place, beating Chester Area by three strokes.

the javelin for the first time, as well, Thill said. Senior Bryce Palmer and Thadan Milliken-Auch had the boys top returning throws in that event from 2022, and Macey Linke is the top javelin returner for the Kernel girls.

“We haven’t really had much chance to practice it but I think we’re going to have some kids that can compete there,” she said.

On the boys side, Thill said she believes the relays will again be a strength for MHS. Dakota State track signee Lukas Bennett will be a sprinting threat and Jagger Tyler will be among the team’s top runners, as well.

A potential star for the Kernels could be freshman Alexier Padilla, who was the ESD middle school champion at 400 meters a year ago for Mitchell and start-

Andes Central/Dakota Chris-

tian’s Abigail Svatos is also a contender in Class B as a junior, after she finished in 23rd at the state meet during her sophomore campaign.

The Winner Area girls, which came in fourth place in Class A last season, return some key pieces of their roster with Rylee Root, Gracie Root and Kelbi Meiners all back for another year. Rylee Root and Meiners are seniors, while Gracie Root, who won the Region 3A title last year, is a freshman. The Region 3A meet will be held on May 23 in Pierre as the final tune-up before the state meet for the girls Class A squads.

ed with a second-place finish at the Lennon meet in the 400-meter dash.

Hunter Patton and Elijah Schroeder will lead the Kernels in the distance running events, Nathan McCormick and A.J. Siemsen will be in action in sprints, relays and field events and Connor Singrey and Trevon Austell will be leaders to watch in the hurdles and relays. Abe Gunnare is expected to excel in the middle distance races. In the field events, Northern State commit Treyson Schultz in the triple and long jump and Lincoln Bates in the high jump are expected to lead the way.

After finishing ninth the last two years in the 300-meter hurdles at the state meet, Palmer said improving upon that finish is his goal for 2023.

Mitchell’s Lakeview Golf Course will host the Region 4B boys and girls tournament on May 23. The pre-region tuneup tournament will be contested on May 19. A handful of area squads will head to Central Valley in Hartford for their Region 3B championship on May 23.

On the girls side, the Class AA state tournament will be contested at Hillsview Golf Course in Pierre, with the Class A meet at Meadowbrook Golf Course in Rapid City. The Class B squads will head to Watertown, with the Class B girls at Cattail Crossing Golf Course and the boys at Prairie Winds Golf Club.

“That’s been my race for the last few years and I’ve been stuck at ninth place,” he said. “So improving on that is my big goal and then I want to help this team have some success and improve our times.”

Palmer added he’s excited to see what the team is capable of by the end of the season on

Memorial Day weekend for the state meet in Sioux Falls.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys coming up,” Palmer said. “I think it’s going to be exciting to see what this team can do. We have kids that are ready to take that opportunity on this team.” mitchell republic, mitchell, S.D. | SaturDay, april 8, 2023 | 2023 SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW | 7 FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK BURKE Anson Insurance dba Southern Dakota Insurance Services Agents: Janet Determan Brady Pavel Jodi Brisk 933 Main St. Burke, SD 605-775-2097 888-213-2097 Farm • Home • Commercial Life • Health • Crop • Auto Mike Karbo 226 E 8th Street Burke, SD 605-775-2625 301 W. Hwy. 18 Gregory, SD 57533 605.835.8749 Like us on Facebook! Main Street Auto Parts 702 Main Street • Burke, SD 605-775-2985 FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK CHAMBERLAIN BYRE BROTHERS 170 Airport Rd Chamberlain 605-234-5771 Best of Luck Cubs for Your 2022-2023 Season 100 Paul Gust Rd., Chamberlain, SD 605-234-5559 Chamberlain, SD 605-734-5523 605-730-1626 Towing Wreck & Recovery Service Truck Parts & Service Road Service New & Used Tires SCORE BIG WITH ELO AS YOUR PARTNER! Chamberlain, SD 605-234-6055 GOOD LUCK BRIDGEWATER/ EMERY — Emily Ruden — 135 N 3rd St, Emery SD 605-999-0567 Chris J. Ruden Emery, SD 605-999-1838 605-449-4241 Over 15 Year of Experience Carpentry • Stamped/Decorative Concrete All Flat Concrete Business: 605-770-2957 Home: 605-449-4939 Emery, SD | Carl Nordwald Excavation & Utility Construction of All Types 215 Industrial Road Emery, SD 605-449-4230 PREMIUM AG SERVICES RODNEY TSCHETTER TRUCKING, LLC 740 E. 6th St. Bridgewater, SD 605-729-2570 The SECURITY STATE BANK 117 N 3rd St. PO Box 245 Emery SD 605-449-4261 Full Service Bank SECURITY STATE BANK 117 N 3rd St. PO Box 245 Emery SD 605-449-4261 Full Service Bank SECURITY STATE BANK 117 N 3rd St. PO Box 245 Emery, SD 605-449-4261 Full Service Bank Full Service Bank 117 N 3rd • St PO Box 245 Emery SD • 605-449-4261 J.L. Arend Insurance 117 North 3rd Emery, SD 605-449-4261 Serving Alexandria, Canova, Center Clayton, Emer y, Fulton, Salem, Spencer and Winfred Communications, Inc. TrioTel Serving Alexandria, Canova, Center, Clayton, Emery, Fulton, Junius, Salem, Spencer & Winfred Serving Alexandria, Canova, Center, Clayton, Emer y, Fulton, Salem, Spencer and Winfred Communications, Inc. TrioTel FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES!
Mitchell Republic file photo Howard’s Melanie Calmus competes in the girls 4x200-meter relay race during the Region 4B track and field meet on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Chester.

Revamped Mitchell boys tennis roster striving for successful season

MITCHELL — There’s plenty of turnover on the Mitchell boys tennis roster this season.

After finishing in third place at the Class A boys state tennis tournament last year, Mitchell graduated six seniors and returns a youthful roster for the 2023 campaign.

Drake Jerke, who has experience in doubles is the lone senior on the roster for the Kernels, while his brother, Luke Jerke, returns as the only player on the roster with singles experience.

Luke was a Flight 6 state champion two years ago in singles.

Because of the lack of experience coming into the season, head coach Pat Moller said much of the lineup is largely up in the air at this point.

“Over the last several years, we have had a very strong JV squad and our numbers are good. And so these kids have been battling each other and had quite a success at the JV level the last several years,” Moller said. “We got probably 10 or 11 kids that are going to fight for those six singles spots and those three doubles positions.”


From Page 3

“That’s what, I think, is going to set us apart from being pretty good to really good,” he added. Even with a high-scoring offense and rotation of powerful arms, perhaps Mitchell’s biggest strength last season was its fielding. Norden doesn’t recall a better team in that category during his time with the program, as the Kernels finished with a spring fielding percentage of .951.

Norden is optimistic that the 2023 squad can emulate the char-

Though there’s youth and uncertainty shrouding the lineup, Moller said he doesn’t anticipate a down year for the Kernels, noting he feels they can still compete in the Eastern South Dakota Conference and at the state tournament. Part of that confidence stems from the success at lower levels in previous years.

“These kids have had a tremendous amount of success and lost less than 10 matches out of hundreds in their career,” Moller said. “We’ve won the middle school ESD title several times over the last couple of years and they had a lot of success. And whether that translates to the varsity level or not remains to be seen. ”

But figuring out who’s in the lineup has only been made more difficult with the inability to get out on the court due to how much snow is still on the ground. To combat this, Moller said they’ve held practices inside but once they get outside it’ll open up the opportunity for challenge matches to help determine the lineup.

Those challenge matches will also bring a type of energy that Moller

said will help prepare his players down the road, and that even though they’re young, a competitive environment that early in the season will be beneficial come tournament time.

“The nice thing about what we have going on now is the challenge matches are pretty pres-

sure-packed, because they have an impact on where these kids are going to end up,” Moller said. “And so we get to see how they play under pressure before the season even starts.”

Competing with the likes of Harrisburg and Yankton — two teams Moller cited he feels could be squads at or near the

top of the state — will be no small task for a largely unproven Mitchell squad. But there’s optimism surrounding the Kernels’ young group. “I would still think that we would be a team that will contend for an ESD conference title,” Moller said, “and a team that will have the potential to be on the podium for

the state tournament.”

Already with a number of schedule changes due to the weather, Mitchell opens the season indoors at 2 p.m. Thursday at Yankton at the Easton Archery Complex. The home opener is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, April 6 at noon against St. Thomas More at Hitchcock Park.

acteristics that allowed past teams to succeed because the program has the framework and leaders to facilitate the transition with a largely new crew of Kernels.

“Goals are good, but I think you have to do a little before developing some goals. I’m more into missions,” Norden explained. “I’m focused

on our team having the mission to carry on the tradition of Mitchell baseball — doing things the right way, outworking everybody and

treating the game with respect. Our leaders and older guys understand the mission, and they’re really good about passing that on.”

8 | 2023 SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW | Saturday, april 8, 2023 | Mitchell republic, Mitchell, S.d Mitchellrepublic.coM GOOD LUCK DAKOTA CHRISTIAN Member FDIC BANK •Debit Cards •Free checking 213 Main St. • Lake Andes 605-487-7611 1-877-487-7611 Fax 605-487-7613 213 Main St • Lake Andes 605-487-7611 • 877-487-7611 Fax 605-487-7613 •Debit cards •Free checking •Loans of all types •Free internet banking Andes State Bank Bob & Gus Middendorp 12 E. 7th Street Platte, SD 605-337-3009 Farming is your livelihood, and it’s our business to help protect that. Rocky Niewenhuis 285 Main Street Corsica, SD 57328 605-946-5606 521 Main Street - Platte 605-337-2319 MOVIE TIMES Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday evenings at 7:30 LYRIC THEATRE Meyerink Farm Service 605-337-2621 102 1st Street NE Wessington Springs, SD 605-539-1040 ROLLING HILLS VETERINARY CLINIC Ry’s Automotive Service West Hwy 44 Platte 337-3152 Rylan Dyk, Master Mechanic Air Conditioners Heat Pumps Furnaces Geothermal System Installation Severson Heating & Air 120 Main St, Platte SD 605-337-2100 THE APPLIANCE CENTER 260 East Main • Corsica, SD 605-946-5883 We are here to help you with all of your appliance and computer sales and services! FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK CORSICA/STICKNEY 38784 262nd Street Stickney, SD 605-732-4240 114 North First Street Parkston, SD 605-928-7958 Also located in Corsica BRALEY LAW OFFICE 120 S Pleasant View Ave Corsica, SD 605-946-5255 Also located in Parkston LINCOLN HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST 322 S Main St • Stickney, SD 605-941-2568 • 605-732-4463 175 South Highway 281 Corsica, SD 605-946-5550 CORSIC TRAVEL PLAZA CORSIC TRAVEL PLAZA Farming is your livelihood, and it’s our business to help protect that. Rocky Niewenhuis 285 Main Street Corsica, SD 57328 605-946-5606 You Call, We Haul! PUNT TRUCKING Roger & Robert Punt Stickney, SD 605-999-2852 605-680-1444 225 S. INDUSTRIAL AVE. CORSICA, SD 605-946-5258 FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK ETHAN 115 South First Street Parkston, SD 57366 605-928-3381 BRICK • STONE POURED WALLS FLAT WORK • LASER SCREED (605)996-8471 (605)7 70-8874 CONCRETE & MASONRY 155 West 1st St. Dimock, SD 605-928-3833 MON-FRI 8:00AM-6:30PM SAT 8:00AM-4:00PM 117 W Ash • Ethan, SD 605-227-4224 GO RUSTLERS & SEAHAWKS! Insurance & Real estate Proud Supporters since 1982. Ethan 227-4215 Parkston 928-7956 GOOD LUCK!
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic Returning letterwinners for Mitchell boys tennis include (from left): Drake Jerke, Jager Juracek and Luke Jerke.


From Page 7

the anchor leg on the Titans’ 4x400-meter relay team that had the class’s fourth-best time last season (4:10.17).

Ashlyn Koupal, Wagner

Though just a freshman, Ashlyn Koupal enters the 2023 season looking for a three-peat in the Class A high jump.

Last season, Koupal’s leap of 5 feet, 7 inches that secured her second straight title stood as the single best mark by a Class A athlete all season.

Brandy Pulse, McCook Central/ Montrose

The University of


From Page 5

the lead. … It is good experience. You don’t get a whole lot of experience if you win all the time. But to be there and have college coaches watching, you learn what that’s like and she couldn’t have been happier with the result for the team and herself.”

Both Meyerink and Quinn Dannenbring were top-10 finishers in the South Dakota Golf Association’s 2022 Sanford Golf Series points standings, with Meyerink finishing in the top-seven in all three events she played and Dannenbring finishing top-eight in two events. Dannenbring, now a junior, finished tied for 13th at state in 2022 for her second straight top15 state finish.

Maddie Childs finished tied for 23rd at last year’s state meet and coach Meyerink said the freshman Childs is another Kernel golfer with a potential college career ahead of her, with Rients and Widstrom also among

South Dakota track and field signee enters her senior season looking to defend her 300-meter hurdles state title in Class A.

Pulse posted the best time in the class last season at the state meet, winning in a time of 46.09 seconds. She also had the sixth-best 100-meter hurdles time in the class (16.10) and finished in fifth place at the state meet.

Skyler Volmer, Lyman

Of the Class B athletes set to return in 2023, Skyler Volmer owns the top marks in 100-meter hurdles (15.88) and high jump (5 feet, 5 inches), second-best long jump (16 feet, 10 3/4 inches) and third-best triple jump (34 feet, 2 1/2 inches).

the returning starters. Eighth grader Mia Larson is also back from last year’s state roster but will miss the season with a knee injury.

“It’s important to keep in mind that everyone counts, every stroke counts,” Rients said. “Even if they only take the top four, everyone wants to be pushing, everyone wants to be helping the team finish as high as we can. You never know what will happen with the top four scores.”

If the weather cooperates, Mitchell will open the season on April 13 at Spring Creek Country Club in Harrisburg for a tournament. Mitchell’s first home event is May 2 at Lakeview Golf Course, hosting Sioux Falls Jefferson, Sioux Falls Lincoln and Yankton in a quadrangular. Mitchell hosts the Marchand Cup with Yankton on May 9 and the Mitchell Invitational on May 12 at Lakeview as well.

The Eastern South Dakota Conference meet is May 23 in Watertown and the Class AA state meet will be held June

All four events saw Volmer finish on the podium at the state meet, as she was the runner-up in 100-meter hurdles and high jump, third in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump.


Jeff Boschee, Sanborn Central/ Woonsocket

Having claimed the Class A high jump title as a sophomore last year, Jeff Boschee will be looking for a repeat this season as a junior. Boschee’s title-winning leap of 6 feet, 3 inches was tied for his best of the season and was second in the class to another entrant on this list.

5-6 at Hillsview Golf Course in Pierre.

The early season practices have been difficult with the weather but the Kernels have made do, including with some practices at the Meyerink house, hitting pitch shots into a field with a few flagsticks set up. One of the days saw wind chill values in the 20s but Meyerink said the team members were committed to getting a

James Deckert, Ethan/Parkston

On the heels of a standout freshman year in 2022, James Deckert is one of the top field

full practice in, not cutting it short.

In early April, the Kernels were able to use part of the Lakeview driving range, even though the course remained closed due to the snow. That allowed MHS to hit some midrange irons and open up the players’ swings some more as the season drew closer.

“We’re doing the best we can, honest-

athletes coming back to compete this season.

Within the returning Class A ranks, Deckert owns the best distance in the long jump (21 feet,

ly,” coach Meyerink said. “The kids, they’ll do whatever they can to

8 inches) and is tied for the longest triple jump (42 feet, 8 inches). At the state meet, Deckert

TRACK: Page 10

be outside. They don’t want to be inside and hit off a mat.” mitchell republic, mitchell, S.D. | SaturDay, april 8, 2023 | 2023 SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW | 9 FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK GREGORY 605-835-8394 Gregory Hospital 615 Main St., Gregory, SD 605-835-9692 GORILLAS! Member FDIC GO 301 W. Hwy. 18 Gregory, SD 57533 605.835.8749 Like us on Facebook! Joseph Z. Hull, DDS, MAGD 407 E Hwy 18, Gregory 605-857-8141 605-830-0300 @KirwanDesign on Facebook Residential & CommeRCial landsCape design & installation iRRigation systems ChemiCal lawn CaRe mowing & snow Removal 908 E. 14th • Gregory 605-835-8578 800-638-6198 OPPERMAN Sand and Gravel FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK HANSON — Emily Ruden — 135 N 3rd St, Emery SD 605-999-0567 Chris J. Ruden Emery, SD 605-999-1838 605-449-4241 Over 15 Year of Experience Carpentry • Stamped/Decorative Concrete All Flat Concrete AREND INSURANCE 450 Main St. Alexandria, SD 605-239-4306 Looking to Buy or Sell Land? Corner of 9th & Main • Mitchell, SD Find us on Facebook Call Bob Jarding 770-3613 Real Estate Broker and Auctioneer A FULL SERVICE BANK! P.O. Box 430 Alexandia, SD 605-239-4306 SECURITY STATE BANK Serving Alexandria, Canova Center, Clayton, Emer y, Fulton, Salem, Spencer and Winfred Communications, Inc. TrioTel Serving Alexandria, Canova, Center, Clayton, Emery, Fulton, Junius, Salem, Spencer & Winfred Serving Alexandria, Canova Center, Clayton, Emer y, Fulton, Salem, Spencer, and Winfred Communications, Inc. TrioTel R FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK FREEMAN 1008 INDUSTRIAL STREET 605-925-4999 Shop our online store 24 hours, 7 days a week! 605-925-7135 1-800-477-7135 820 N. U.S. Hwy. 81 P.O. Box Q Freeman, SD 57029 Home of Quality Livestock Equipment
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic Platte-Geddes’ Lee Reiser throws the shot put in during the Class B track and field state meet on Friday, May 27, 2022, at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic Lyman’s Skyler Volmer approaches the bar during the girls’ high jump competition at the 97th Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Sioux Falls. Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Berkeley Engelland competes in a distance running event during day two of the SDHSAA Track and Field State Championship on Friday, May 27, 2022 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.

A guide to the first season of high school sanctioned softball in South Dakota

MITCHELL — The long wait for high school softball as a sanctioned sport in South Dakota is finally over.

Despite the best efforts of the cold and snow, a few games were able to break in the sport this week. With the sport reaching a new level, it’s a good chance to hit a refresher on how South Dakota got here and how it’s all going to work this spring.

Here’s what to know about the new high school sport this season: How did South Dakota sanction softball?

South Dakota’s high school softball story starts in 1999, when USA Softball South Dakota helped get a fall high school league up and running. Gary Young, the organization’s state commissioner, told the Mitchell Repub -

lic in 2022 that softball leaders approached the SDHSAA about sanctioning the sport but there wasn’t much interest at the time. Young said he hoped that the SDHSAA would add the sport a few years later — much like soccer and competitive cheer and dance — but the wait ended up being more than 20 years.

The road to South Dakota’s successful sanctioning of softball in South Dakota picked up in 2019, when the SDHSAA began assessing interest in the sport with schools. In 2021, the SDHSAA created a steering committee, alongside efforts for e-sports.

“We’re the only one left that doesn’t do it,” SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos said in April 2021, noting South Dakota was the last holdout among states for sanctioning the sport after

Wyoming added it. South Dakota will be one of 45 states to play softball in the spring, while the other five play in the fall or summer. In August 2021, 16 schools had committed to play in 2022-23, and that figure climbed to as many as 35. In January, the SDHSAA affirmed its rules for the first spring of play.

The creation of softball in the SDHSAA structure has already doubled the number of participating schools. In 2021, South Dakota had 24 teams in the fall high school season and 49 teams are signed up for the inaugural spring campaign in 2023, with additional schools lined up to add the sport in 2024.

The rules to know

► Pitchers are not restricted on the number of innings they can pitch in a day, meaning they can throw both

games of a doubleheader or well into extra innings.

► Games will have a 10-run rule after five innings and a 15-run rule after three innings. That rule applies to regular and postseason contests.

► Games that go to extra-innings will use the international tie-breaker rule, which involves each team starting the inning with a runner at second base.

► Fields will be equipped with a double first base to allow for athlete safety between runners and fielders.

► Like in basketball, teams are capped at a maximum of 20 regular-season games.

► Teams have to play at least eight games to be considered for postseason play and in order to be seeded.

► Teams have to complete five full innings (or 4 1/2 innings if the home team leads)

in order for a game to be considered official. Games that have to be stopped before that point due to darkness or weather can be suspended and picked up at a later date. Games played past five innings that end without both teams getting the same turns at bat will revert to the score when the last inning started.

► Players can’t participate for a high school team and their club

team simultaneously, and have to wait until their team is eliminated to join a travel team.  What area teams are involved?

In Class A — which will be the state’s largest division with 19 teams — Wagner and Winner Area are the area communities with softball teams in this inaugural season. In Class B, Avon,

placed fourth in the long jump and was 13th in the triple jump.

Owen Eitemiller, Menno

A mong Class B’s returners, Owen Eitemiller ranks at the top in pole vault with a height of 13 feet, 3 inches (1 foot, 9 inches higher than the next-closest competitor) and has the third-best 110-meter hurdles time (16.07).

At last year’s state meet, Eitemiller placed third in the pole vault

and narrowly missed the final cutoff in the hurdles, finishing ninth Kade Stukel, Gregory

This spring, as one of the top senior sprinters in Class B, Kade Stukel will look to improve on a campaign that saw him post top-four placements in the 100meter and 200-meter dash at the state meet last season.

Stukel owned the second-best time (23.03) in the 200 among all returning Class B athletes and the fifth-best time (11.16) in the 100. Additionally, Stukel was

the lead leg in Gregory’s 4x100-meter relay team that finished as runners-up at the state meet last season and had the class’s fourthbest time for the year (44.95).

Lee Reiser, PlatteGeddes

With the Black Panthers making the jump to Class A, Lee Reiser will have to defend his Class B shot put title from 2022 at a higher division. Reiser showed immense in-season improvement last season on the way to the state title, finishing

with Class B’s longest throw of the season at 54 feet, 8 inches.

Reed Rus, Mount Vernon/Plankinton

Rus enters his final sports season in a Titans uniform having posted the top leap in Class A high jump last season at 6 feet, 4 inches. Additionally, Rus has the best time in the class among returners in the 110meter hurdles (15.29) and seventh-best time in the 300-meter hurdles (42.93).

At the state meet last season, Rus placed fifth in high jump and seventh in the 110 hurdles.

10 | 2023 SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW | Saturday, april 8, 2023 | Mitchell republic, Mitchell, S.d Mitchellrepublic.coM GOOD LUCK KIMBALL/ WHITE LAKE 36694 Iron Horse Drive Kimball, SD 57355 605-846-1738 24/7 Nursing Staff • Social Services • Daily Activities • On-site Beautician Therapeutic Diets • Inpatient and Outpatient Therapy Medicare & Medicaid Certified Call today to schedule a tour! 605-249-2216 Aurora Brule Care & Rehab 408 S Johnston St., White Lake, SD GOOD LUCK TEAMS! BROOKS HARDWARE & AUTOMOTIVE 605-778-6370 BYRE BROTHERS 170 Airport Rd Chamberlain 605-234-5771 Best of Luck Cubs for Your 2022-2023 Season After the game, stop in for our “Game Specials” 801 S. Main • Kimball 605-778-6567 GOOD LUCK WILDKATS! Farmers & Merchants State Bank White Lake, SD 605-249-2221 Good Luck WiLdKats! 200 S. Main | Kimball Member FDIC Horseshoe K Ranch 23539 365th Ave. Kimball 605-778-6714 Kaleb's Service & Repair 116 West 1st St Ste B Kimball, SD 605-778-6933 Sale Every Tuesday 301 N Truck St Kimball, SD 605-778-6211 CHAD HEEZEN (605) 870-0697 WADE CHRISTENSEN (605) 730-1801 Konechne's Red Barn 35809 254th St. • Kimball 605-778-6332 • 800-870-6332 725 S. Main Kimball 605-778-6483 FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK HOWARD Howard Auto Clinic We Appreciate Your Business 405 S. Main St., Howard, SD (605) 772-5308 Rusty’s Food Store, Inc. Fresh Cut Meat, Fresh Produce & Hot Lunches Daily! HOURS: Monday-Saturday 7:00 am-7:00 pm Sunday 9:00 am-12:00 pm Highway 34, Howard, SD 605-772-4742 Family owned and operated Serving the community for over 50 years FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK LYMAN BYRE BROTHERS 170 Airport Rd Chamberlain 605-234-5771 Best of Luck Cubs for Your 2022-2023 Season HEIMAN CONSTRUCTION & SEAMLESS GUTTER AL & TAMI HEIMAN PRESHO 605-895-9644 Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Reed Rus, right, strides over the final hurdle during the boys 110-meter hurdles prelims during day two of the SDHSAA Track and Field State Championship on Friday, May 27, 2022 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. TRACK From Page 9 SD SOFTBALL: Page 13

When last we saw the Minnesota Twins, they were limping to the finish line of what was one of the most frustrating seasons in franchise history.

They spent most of the season in first place, leading the AL Central by as many as five games and as late as Sept. 4. But repeated bullpen meltdowns and even more frequent injuries eventually caught up with them, and Cleveland caught, passed and ran away from the Twins to take the division. With star shortstop Carlos Correa expected to opt-out of his contract and sign elsewhere, there was little reason for optimism heading into the offseason.

But then Correa’s megadeals with first the Giants and then the Mets fell through. Correa came back to the Twins on a 6-year deal, and everything changed.

Emboldened by getting their franchise player back, the Twins front office went about doing everything they could to make sure a repeat of last year doesn’t happen.

They signed a No. 1 catcher in Christian Vazquez. They took a flier on Joey Gallo, a two-time Gold Glover with a pair of 40-homer seasons to his credit looking to bounce back from a bad year. They signed a pair of starting-caliber infielders (Kyle Farmer and Donovan Solano) to be utility men. They signed Gold Glove centerfielder Michael A. Taylor because at this point it’s stupid to think Byron Buxton will ever stay healthy. And they traded reigning AL batting champ Luis Arraez for a frontline starter, 27-year-old Pablo Lopez.

The Twins are not without question marks, but there’s a lot to like on this roster.

The starting rotation is as deep as it’s ever been. Lopez and veteran Sonny Gray are a good 1-2, with Joe Ryan, who won 13 games as a rookie last year, looking like

a possible future ace.

Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda are the fourth and fifth starters and in most years would be the Twins’ 1-2. That means Bailey Ober (3.82 ERA in 31 career starts) is starting the season in the minors to front a Saints rotation that will also include top prospects Louie Varland and Simeon Woods-Richardson, with Chris Paddack hoping to return from Tommy John surgery at some point. This year when injuries inevitably strike, the Twins will have credible reinforcements.

At the plate, Correa and Buxton will anchor the lineup, while corner infielder Jose Miranda looks like a future star.

Vazquez is an upgrade behind the plate, and while Jorge Polanco and Alex Kirilloff start the

season on the injured list, some combination of Nick Gordon, Trevor Larnach, Solano, Farmer, Gallo, Taylor and Max Kepler should keep the lineup steady until they return.

Former No. 1 pick Royce Lewis could be back from his torn ACL mid-summer, last year’s top pick Brooks Lee could be ready by then as well, while outfielder Matt Walner and on-base machine Edouard Julien, who will start the year at St. Paul, are knocking on the door.

Whether last year’s injuries were bad luck, poor preparation and treatment (the trainer from last year was fired) or a lack of durability, you have to like the front office basically saying to the team, look, we know you guys can’t go more

than two weeks without hurting yourselves, so we signed more guys than we can fit on the roster for when it

happens again. If the Twins are fortunate enough to stay even modestly healthy, mitchell republic, mitchell, S.D. | SaturDay, april 8, 2023 | 2023 SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW | 11 FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK PARKSTON 115 South First Street Parkston, SD 57366 605-928-3381 AMPRIDE/ GODFATHER'S PIZZA 905 West SD Highway 44 Parkston, SD 605-928-7543 114 North First Street Parkston, SD 605-928-7958 Also located in Corsica BRALEY LAW OFFICE 114 North First Street Parkston, SD 605-928-7958 Also located in Corsica. 155 West 1st St. Dimock, SD 605-928-3833 MON-FRI 8:00AM-6:30PM SAT 8:00AM-4:00PM Insurance & Real estate Proud Supporters since 1982. Ethan 227-4215 Parkston 928-7956 GOOD LUCK! S & T Trucking Logistics, LLC 803 South Ben Street Parkston, SD Office 605-928-770 Fax 605-928-773 Cell 605-770-6097 WENZEL INSURANCE AGENCY 710 W. Ash Parkston, SD 605-928-3063 1-800-762-1239 Sales And Service For Individuals And Groups GOOD LUCK MCCOOK/ MONTROSE Andy Kinzley Laura Boecker 500 North Main • Salem, SD 605-425-2621 KINZLEY FUNERAL HOME Serving Alexandria, Canova Center, Clayton, Emer y, Fulton, Salem, Spencer and Winfred Communications, Inc. TrioTel Serving Alexandria, Canova, Center, Clayton, Emery, Fulton, Junius, Salem, Spencer & Winfred Serving Alexandria, Canova, Center, Clayton, Emer y, Fulton, Salem, Spencer, and Winfred Communications, Inc. TrioTel R FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! FROM THESE SUPPORTIVE BUSINESSES! GOOD LUCK MT VERNON Farmers Elevator Co. of Mt. Vernon We Buy, Sell & Store Grain “Top Prices Paid” Grinding-Mixing-Fertilizers & Services Call 256-5233 or 236-5222 Lynn Deinert, Mgr., Mt. Vernon, SD 605-236-5755 Brian Dodd, Owner 24699 395th Ave., Mt. Vernon 001622884r1 Serving Mitchell and the Surrounding Area for over 20 years (605) 996-8648 Mount Vernon Gas & Oil Tires, Batteries, Hardware, Minor Repairs, Bradford Built & Hillsboro Truck Beds Kim & Tammy Lorang, owners 605-236-5369 Full Service Gas & Fuel Bulk Deliveries TWINS: Page 13 Peter Aiken / USA Today Sports Minnesota Twins designated hitter Byron Buxton (25) slides into third base safely before the tag from Kansas City Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier (17) during the sixth inning at Kauffman Stadium on April 1, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Twins have what it takes to contend in 2023 MATT ZIMMER Mitchell Republic 

The following information was compiled by the Mitchell Republic’s sports staff, provided by area coaches, or collected from South Dakota’s track meet database at

April 11

Wagner Relays

2 p.m. (field) / 4 p.m. (running) at Wagner

Participating teams: Avon, Bon Homme, Chamberlain, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Gregory, Kimball/White Lake, Marty, Mount Vernon/ Plankinton, Platte-Geddes, Tripp-Delmont/ Armour, Wagner, Winner.

Jack Rasmussen Relays

3 p.m. (field) / 4 p.m. (running) at Salem

Participating teams: Canistota, Freeman, Garretson, Howard, McCook Central/Montrose.

Centerville Invite

Noon (field) / 1:30 p.m. (running) at Centerville

Participating teams: Alcester-Hudson, Beresford, Centerville, Deubrook Area, Freeman Academy/Marion, Gayville-Volin, Menno, Scotland, Sioux Falls


April 13

Menno Relays

9:30 a.m. (field) / 11:30 a.m. (running) at Menno

Participating teams: Arlington, Burke, Canistota, Colman-Egan, Deubrook Area, Deuel, Freeman, Freeman Academy/Marion, Hanson, Irene-Wakonda, McCrossan, Menno, Scotland.

April 14

Avon Invitational

4:30 p.m. (field) / 5 p.m. (running) at Avon

Participating teams: Avon, Bon Homme, Marty, Tripp-Delmont/ Armour, Wagner.

Booster Club Relays

Noon at De Smet

Participating teams: Clark/Willow Lake, De Smet, Florence/Henry, Hamlin, Highmore-Harrold, Howard, Iroquois/Lake Preston, James Valley Christian, McCook Central/Montrose, Miller, Northwestern, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket, Sunshine Bible Academy, Wolsey-Wessington.

April 15

Corn Palace Relays

9 a.m. at Mitchell

Participating teams: Aberdeen Central,

Burke, Chamberlain, Chester Area, Dell Rapids St. Mary, Estelline/ Hendricks, Ethan/Parkston, Groton Area, Harrisburg, Huron, Kimball/White Lake, Milbank, Mitchell, Mitchell Christian, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, Platte-Geddes, Sioux Falls Lincoln, Wagner, Wessington Springs, Winner, Yankton.

April 18

Big Dakota Conference Meet 11 a.m. at Stephan

Participating teams: Chamberlain, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, Crow Creek, McLaughlin, Miller, Mobridge-Pollock, Stanley County, Todd County, Winner.

Tiger Relays

2 p.m. at Howard

Participating teams: Canistota, De Smet, Howard, Lake Preston, McCook Central/Montrose, McCrossan, Oldham-Ramona/Rutland, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket.

Jaguar Invitational

1 p.m. (field) / 2 p.m. (running) at Corsica

Participating teams: Andes Central/Dakota Christian, Burke, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Gregory, Kimball/ White Lake, Marty, Mitchell Christian, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, Tripp-Delmont/ Armour, Wessington Springs.

April 20

Flyer Invite 1 p.m. (field) / 3 p.m. (running) at Freeman

Participating teams: Alcester-Hudson, Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Centerville, Colman-Egan, Deubrook Area, Elk Point-Jefferson, Freeman, Freeman Academy/Marion, Garretson, Hanson, Howard, Irene-Wakonda, McCook Central/ Montrose, McCrossan, Menno, Mitchell Christian, Oldham-Ramona/Rutland, Parker, Sioux Falls Lutheran, Viborg-Hurley.

April 21

Greenway Relays

12:30 p.m. (field) / 2 p.m. (running) at Mount Vernon

Participating teams: Avon, Burke, Canton, Chamberlain, Corsica-Stickney, Ethan/ Parkston, Kimball/ White Lake, Mitchell, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, Sanborn Central/ Woonsocket, Scotland, Tri-Valley, Wagner, Wessington Springs,

West Central.

April 22

Platte-Geddes Relays

10 a.m. (field) / noon (track) at Platte.

Participating teams: Andes Central/Dakota Christian, Bon Homme, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Gregory, Irene-Wakonda, Lower Brule, Marty, Mitchell Christian, Platte-Geddes, St. Francis, Tripp-Delmont/Armour, Wessington Springs, Winner.

April 25

Great Plains Conference Championships

11 a.m. (field) / 1 p.m. (track) at Gayville

Participating teams: Alcester-Hudson, Andes Central/Dakota Christian, Avon, Burke, Centerville, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Freeman Academy/Marion, Gayville-Volin, Marty, Scotland, Tripp-Delmont/Armour.

Gene Danielsen Relays

3 p.m. (field) / 4 p.m. (running) at Salem

Participating teams: Baltic, Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Colman-Egan, Dell Rapids St. Mary, Ethan/ Parkston, Garretson, Hanson, Howard, McCook Central/Montrose, Menno, Mitchell Christian, Mount Vernon/Plankinton, Tri-Valley.

April 27

Erv Ptak Relays

1 p.m. (field), 3 p.m. (running) at Menno

Participating teams: Alcester-Hudson, Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Centerville, Freeman Academy/Marion, Hanson, Kimball/ White Lake, McCrossan, Menno, Sioux Falls Lutheran, Viborg-Hurley.

April 29

Gregory Invitational

10 a.m. (field), 11:30 a.m. (running) at Gregory Participating teams: Colome, Gregory, Kimball/White Lake, Little Wound, Marty, Platte-Geddes, St. Francis.

May 2

Don Diede Relays

1 p.m. (field) / 3 p.m.

(field) at Freeman

Participating teams: Alcester-Hudson, Andes Central/Dakota Christian, Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Centerville, Freeman, Freeman Academy/ Marion, Gayville-Volin, Hanson, Irene-Wakonda, McCrossan, Menno, Mitchell Christian, Mount Vernon/ Plankinton, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket, Viborg-Hurley.

May 5

Howard Wood Dakota Relays

3 p.m. at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. (Continues at 9 a.m. May 6)

May 9

281 Conference Meet

10 a.m. (field) / noon (track) at Huron

Participating teams: Highmore-Harrold, Hitchcock-Tulare, Iroquois/Doland, James Valley Christian, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket, Sunshine Bible Academy, Wessington Springs, Wolsey-Wessington.

Southeastern South Dakota Conference Meet

1 p.m. (field) / 3 p.m. (running) at Parkston

Participating teams: Bon Homme, Chamberlain, Ethan/Parkston, Gregory, Mount Vernon/ Plankinton, Platte-Geddes, Wagner, Winner.

May 11

Buck Timmins Ethan/ Parkston Relays

2 p.m. (field) / 3 p.m. (running) at Parkston

Participating teams: Andes Central/Dakota Christian, Bon Homme, Ethan/Parkston, Mitchell Christian, Platte-Geddes, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket, Tripp-Delmont/ Armour, Wagner, Wessington Springs.

Cornbelt Conference Meet

9:30 a.m. (field) / 11:30 a.m. (track) at Alexandria

Participating teams: Bridgewater-Emery, Canistota, Freeman, Hanson, Howard, Irene-Wakonda, McCrossan, Menno.

May 12

Lezlie Blasius Memo-

rial Meet 1 p.m. (field) / 2:30 p.m. (running) at Kimball

Participating teams: Avon, Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Crow Creek, James Valley Christian, Kadoka Area, Kimball/White Lake, Stanley County, Wessington Springs, Winner.

May 13

Eastern South Dakota Conference Meet

11:30 a.m. at Brandon.

Participating teams: Aberdeen Central, Brandon Valley, Brookings, Harrisburg, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Watertown, Yankton.

May 17


May 25-27 State track meet

All classes: Howard Wood Field, Sioux Falls

Notable region meet locations Traditional start time is
B: Region 3 at Bridgewater.
Notable region meet locations
start time is
a.m. Class
Region 3 at Hartford; Region 5 at Alexandria; Region 7 at Mission. Class B: Region 4 at Freeman; Region 5 at Avon; Region 6 at Gettysburg.
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listing of

they’re going to be a very strong squad.

The one question mark is the bullpen, where they made the very odd and very unpopular decision to bring back explosives expert Felix Pagan but made no significant additions. Their hope is that Jorge Lopez, an All-Star last year in Baltimore, can bounce back from a poor showing after the trade and pair with Jhoan Duran, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcala and Jovani Moran to form a reliable relief corps. If that doesn’t work out, perhaps they can dip into their starting depth to boost the ‘pen.

The Central is probably the AL’s weakest division, but Cleveland will still be tough to beat. They have the pitching, their young lineup should continue to improve and they added some power to address their biggest weakness. The White Sox should also be improved, especially if they, like the Twins, can avoid falling victim to injuries that did them in last year.

Before Correa re-signed, it looked like the biggest news of the Twins offseason was going to be their new uniforms. Now the new digs are an afterthought, but it’s worth remembering — the last time the Twins underwent this drastic of an overhaul in their logo, uniforms and branding was 1987.

Anyone remember what happened that year?


From Page 10

Bon Homme, Freeman/Marion/Freeman Academy, Hanson and Scotland/Menno are all participating in a class that has 14 schools as of now.

In Class AA, there are 16 teams playing this season, including Mitchell. The 16-team number means every team will participate in the postseason. (Douglas, Huron and Spearfish are the traditional Class AA schools that aren’t playing this season.)

What is the postseason format?

Like high school

football, the postseason will be seeded 1-through-16, with only those 16 teams making the postseason. Region tournaments might be added in future years. The SoDak 16 games will be played on Tuesday, May 23 at the high seeds.

Unlike many softball tournaments at various levels, South Dakota’s high school tournament will be single-elimination, following the format of the state’s other state events with eight teams playing out championship and consolation brackets over three days.

Aberdeen is set to host the inaugural championships on June 1-3. The SDHSAA has tentatively scheduled for the Class AA tournament to take

place at Koehler Hall of Fame Field at Northern State, while the Class A and Class B tournaments will take place at the Players Complex in Aberdeen.

Who are the teams to watch?

The fall 2022 club season, which was diminished because many schools did not play and prepared for the high school spring

season, was won by Watertown, followed by the Rapid City Reds as runner-up and Sturgis taking third and Pierre fourth in an invitational tournament.

Among Class AA schools, Sioux Falls Lincoln won two of the final three club large-division titles, winning in 2019 and 2021, with the latter being over Harrisburg. The Tigers won the state title in

2020. (In the club format, South Dakota had two divisions: Class A and Class B, which we’ll refrain from using here to avoid any additional confusion.) O’Gorman, Roosevelt and Brandon Valley have been among the other annual contenders, while Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens both bring solid traditions from the club level to the season.

The Class A cham-

pion discussion will start with West Central, which has won six championships in a row dating back to 2016. The Trojans won the 2021 championship over Dell Rapids.

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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez (49) pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on March 30, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri.
USA Today Sports
Photos by Jay Biggerstaff /
TWINS From Page 11
Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) celebrates with first baseman Jose Miranda (64) after defeating the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on March 30, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Below is a rundown of the Central Division teams in the American League, looking at the key additions and departures, plus an outlook for the 2023 season:

Chicago White Sox

2022 record: 81-81, second in American League Central

Offseason headlines: One day before turning 78, manager Tony La Russa retired due to health complications rather than try to make a run at a third season managing the White Sox. He missed the final five weeks of the season because of a heart issue. Now the man in charge is Pedro Grifol, former bench coach of the division rival Kansas City Royals. The highest-profile pitcher Chicago signed was right-hander Mike Clevinger, on a one-year deal with an option for 2024. Six weeks after the signing, it was revealed Clevinger was under MLB investigation for allegations of physical, verbal and emotional abuse of the mother of his infant daughter. When the MLB probe concluded, it said no suspension was necessary.

Spring storylines:

Primed with young, talented bats and some stellar starters, can this team do what it failed to do under La Russa and win a playoff series? The first step is getting back to the playoffs at all, and to do that they’ll need to remain healthy. Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and Tim Anderson all played fewer than 100 games last season; Yoan Moncada played 104. The team is working through supposedly minor injuries during spring training.

In January, closer Liam Hendriks announced he was beginning treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. “I’m not going to have a closer,” Grifol said this spring. He will use a committee approach out of the bullpen, with Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, Reynaldo Lopez and Jake Diekman all figuring to pitch ninth innings at some point.

Young guns: Rule 5

Draft pick Nick Avila, a right-handed reliever (San Francisco), has yet to make the show but is pushing for a spot in Chicago’s bullpen, which will need all the help it can get. Outfielder Oscar Colas has flashed power during spring training and could reach the big leagues later this year.

Fall feeling: A division title should be in the realm of possibility again for the White Sox, just as it was a wide-open race for much of 2022 before Cleveland sped past Chicago and Minnesota in the home stretch. The club snapped an 11-year postseason drought with consecutive trips in 2020 and 2021; now it hopes to make October baseball a more regular occurrence

under new management.

Cleveland Guardians 2022 record: 92-70, first in American League Central

Offseason headlines: In their first season known as the Guardians, Cleveland led the New York Yankees 2-1 in the American League Division Series before losing Games 4 and 5 against some top-tier New York pitchers. Not much has changed on this Cleveland roster since the final out of that series, leaving the club to run it back and see if it can push further into the playoffs. Signing Josh Bell on a two-year deal adds a bat at first base and designated hitter, though the Guardians will be hoping for the version of Bell that slugged .483 in a year and a half with the Washington Nationals, not the one who slugged .271 upon being traded to the San Diego Padres.

Spring storylines: It’s clear Cleveland is a topnotch defensive team. The Guardians tied for fifth in team ERA last season and return all five starters, all of them dependable arms. Outfielders Steven Kwan and Myles Straw and second baseman Andres Gimenez won Gold Gloves. But can they increase their power? After ranking second-tolast in home runs last season, the Guardians are hopeful for a step forward from youngsters such as Oscar Gonzalez in that department.

Young guns: Cleveland was the youngest team in baseball last season, but that doesn’t mean more prospects aren’t knocking on the door. According to MLB Pipeline, the Guardians’ top six prospects all have an ETA of 2023. No. 1 prospect Daniel Espino, a right-handed pitcher, is currently rehabbing from a tear in his pitching shoulder.

Fall feeling: This team has played more October baseball than any other division team in recent years, making the playoffs five of the past seven

seasons. Chalk it up, among other things, to Terry Francona, who has had only one team finish sub-.500 in 10 years. Chicago and Minnesota will take aim at the top, but in a relatively weak division, the Guardians are favored to repeat.

Detroit Tigers 2022 record: 66-96, fourth in American League Central

Offseason headlines: Miguel Cabrera is ready for his farewell tour. The future Hall of Famer, who collected his 500th career home run in 2021 and his 3,000th hit last season, said in November that he intends to play out the final year of his contract in 2023 and then retire as a Tiger. After they spent big to sign Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez ahead of the 2022 season, the Tigers were unhappy with the returns they saw and general manager Al Avila was let go, with Scott Harris hired to replace him. Harris and the Tigers sold more than they added this winter. They’re relying on what they have in place to hold down the fort and make sure Cabrera’s last season isn’t one to forget.

Spring storylines: Who is left in this bullpen, exactly? The Tigers dealt two-time All-Star Gregory Soto to the Philadelphia Phillies and Joe Jimenez to the Atlanta Braves. Returning righthanders Alex Lange and Jason Foley and veteran lefty Chasen Shreve will be expected to shoulder much of the load. Sluggers and outfielders alike are waiting to see how differently Comerica Park plays after the Tigers brought in the centerfield wall from 422 feet to 412 and lowered the walls in center and right down to 7 feet. Then there’s the season-long story of Cabrera, who figures

to be asked and asked again if he’s truly sure he won’t return after 2023. “I am really grateful for all that I have been able to live and accomplish on the baseball field,” he recently told ESPN. “But it is time to go.”

Young guns: First baseman Spencer Torkelson (first overall draft pick, 2020) and centerfielder Riley Greene (fifth overall, 2019) had underwhelming rookie campaigns. The key not only to the Tigers’ 2023 success but also their longterm outlook lies with these two rising to meet lofty expectations.

Fall feeling: It’s been eight seasons and counting since Detroit last played fall baseball in 2014. That’s tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the longest active drought in MLB. Nice as it would be for the Tigers to send Cabrera off with one last postseason run, expectations are low.

Kansas City Royals

2022 record: 65-97, fifth in American League Central

Offseason headlines: Mike Matheny is out and Matt Quatraro is in as Kansas City’s manager. The former Tampa Bay Rays bench coach is being heralded as someone who listens to his players and is in tune with the analytics world. He isn’t working with a completely empty cupboard, but the Royals did sell off some roster pieces — Ryan O’Hearn, Michael A. Taylor, reliever Wyatt Mills — for prospects and cash over the winter. The Royals snapped up some interesting veterans such as Aroldis Chapman, Franmil Reyes and Jackie Bradley Jr., the latter two on minor league deals.

Spring storylines: How will the rotation take shape after the Royals posted the worst team

rebuild will take time.

Minnesota Twins

2022 record: 78-84, third in American League Central Offseason headlines:

ERA in the American League in 2022? While Brady Singer (10-5, 3.23 ERA) had a breakout campaign and Zack Greinke was brought back for another run, Kansas City’s four other regular starters had ERAs higher than 5.00. The club hopes it’s addressed the position by signing Ryan Yarbrough from the Rays and Jordan Lyles from the Baltimore Orioles. Bobby Witt Jr. is coming off a 20-homer, 30-steal campaign, yet Royals fans are hoping to see more as Witt figures to be the everyday shortstop in 2023. Who’s going to help Witt and Salvador Perez drive in runs? Perhaps Vinnie Pasquantino continues on an upward trajectory after impressing as a rookie.

Young guns: Shortstop Maikel Garcia, the Royals’ No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, saw some limited major league action in 2022. But with Witt occupying that position, Quatraro hinted early in spring training that the hot-hitting Garcia could be an option at third base. Whether he gets that chance in the regular season remains to be seen; Hunter Dozier is the projected starter.

Fall feeling: The Royals haven’t broken .500 or returned to the playoffs since winning the 2015 World Series. Between hiring Quatraro and tinkering with the roster the way they did, it’s the dawn of a new era, but a

Carlos Correa returned to the Twins on a six-year, $200 million deal — but only after the price came down when both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets agreed to much larger amounts, saw Correa’s physical and got cold feet. The Twins don’t have those concerns; they know Correa’s medical background and what they’re getting from him not only as a shortstop, but as a locker room leader. It was a winter heavy on wheeling and dealing in Minnesota. The Twins flipped American League batting champ Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins for starting pitcher Pablo Lopez — an underrated arm to join Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan in the rotation. They added Christian Vazquez as their new No. 1 catcher, and they’ll hope outfield addition Joey Gallo is capable of a bounce-back year.

Spring storylines: What will this outfield look like day in and day out, and how productive can it be?

Byron Buxton is one of the Twins’ best talents, but he hasn’t played more than 92 games since 2017. Manager Rocco Baldelli said Buxton will begin the season as the DH. After Gallo struggled in New York and didn’t exactly get his production back on track with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is Minnesota the kind of market that will be kinder to him?

The Twins also brought in Michael A. Taylor after two productive seasons in Kansas City, adding him to an outfield rotation with Max Kepler and Trevor Larnach.

Young guns: Royce Lewis is aiming to earn a full-time spot on this roster. He tore his right ACL in both February 2021 and May 2022, and while he won’t be ready to go on Opening Day, he feels he’s at a good point in his recovery. The No. 2 prospect in the Twins’ pipeline, Lewis can play center field and shortstop.

Fall feeling: With the talent up and down the roster, finishing sub-.500 and missing the playoffs for the third straight year would be a massive disappointment in Minnesota.

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Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) looks on while at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning at Tropicana Field on March 30, 2023 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tigers’ improvement on track leads the way

— The Dakota Wesleyan University spring sports teams are already in action for the spring. Here’s a rundown of where things stand at the midway points of their seasons.

Track and field

The DWU track and field team has continued to show vast improvement as it enters the outdoor season under second-year head coach Matthew Rosado.

Wyatt Baldauf has reached the NAIA

A-standard in the 3,000meter steeplechase and has the conference’s top time in 9:23.84. That mark broke the school record in the event by nearly 4 seconds and the Tiger junior from Seneca, Illinois is now

No. 4 nationally. Baldauf enters the outdoor season after qualifying in the national 1-mile race during the indoor meet, where he finished four-hundredths of a second out of the national top-10.

A freshman from Lennox, Caleb Sayler has the conference’s second-best time in the 5,000-meter run (15:09.57), which moved him to the second-best outdoor time in school history. Sayler enters the outdoor season after being a national qualifier in the 5K at the NAIA indoor meet and has posted top-two times in school history in the 1,000-meter, 1-mile and 5,000-meter indoor races.

Men’s teammate Hunter Shanks has the No. 4 time in the Great

Plains Athletic Conference in the 800-meter run (1:57.77) set on March 30 at the Bobcat Invitational in San Marcos, Texas.

Cobey Carr, a sophomore from Pierre, has the conference’s thirdbest mark in the triple jump of 42 feet, 4.75 inches set on March 24 in Wayne, Nebraska.

In women’s competition, Chamberlain product Avany Long, a DWU senior, ranks fourth in the conference in the long jump with a jump of 16 feet, 6.5 inches at the Wildcat Classic on March 24.

Lila Gronseth, a junior from Minnesota, has posted the sixthbest GPAC mark in the women’s shot put mark for the outdoor season, measuring 41 feet, 4.25 inches. She was 22nd

at the national indoor meet earlier this year.

The GPAC championship meet will be held May 5-6 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa. The NAIA championship meet will be held May 24-27 in Marion, Indiana.


The spring golf seasons are ramping up for the DWU men’s and women’s teams with coach Russell Pick in his second season leading the program.

On the women’s side, DWU returns off a second-place finish in 2022 behind Morningside.

The Tigers are led by fifth-year Lennox product Megan Hinker, who has earned three GPAC golfer of the week honors in the last calendar year for DWU. Hinker is

a three-time all-GPAC selection, including finishing fourth as an individual in 2022.

Teammate and fellow senior Erin Moncur, a product of Miller, returns after being an all-GPAC selection last season, finishing in eighth place. Other varsity starters from the spring 2023 debut include freshman Ashton Austreim, of Brookings, junior Becky Koepke, of Sioux Falls Roosevelt, and sophomore Kaylee Johnson, of Hendricks, Minnesota.

In its spring opening

meet in Kansas in early April, the Tigers were led by Micah Dohrer, who shot an opening-round 73 and finished in the top-40 individually to help DWU finish fifth as a team. Dohrer, a sophomore from Aberdeen, is a past Class A state high school champion. The men’s quintet of Tiger golfers included sophomore Cody Cavanaugh, of De Smet, along with freshman Peyton Bettcher, junior Caden Jost (both West Central graduates) and Mitchell native and freshman Macon Larson. All seven Tigers on the men’s roster are South Dakota natives. The Tigers will not have a meet in South Dakota for the rest of the season but are

DWU: Page 16

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Marcus Traxler Sports Editor Landon Dierks Sports Reporter
Zech Lambert Sports Reporter Matt Zimmer Sports Reporter DWU athletics photo Dakota Wesleyan’s Wyatt Baldauf runs in the NAIA national indoor track and field championships in February in Brookings. Hinker Dohrer

scheduled to play just over the Missouri River in mid-April with the Tatanka Spring Invite at the Tatanka Golf Club in Niobrara, Nebraska scheduled for April 14-15.

The GPAC championships — under a twoday, 54-hole format this year for the first time — will be played April 24-25 at The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, and May 1-2 at Spencer, Iowa for the women.


The story of the 2023 Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team has been defined by rough weather and a rough record to date.

As of April 2, the Tigers have a record of 4-17 and were still looking for their first Great Plains Athletic Conference victory of the year. The Tigers’ 21 games played ranks in the bottom 5% of all of NAIA for the 2023 season.

DWU’s three wins came in succession while on its spring break trip in Tucson, Arizona, with a win over Bethany Lutheran (Minn.) and back-toback seven-inning wins over NCAA Division II Bemidji State (Minn.). The Tigers’ leaders in a number of statistical categories are freshmen or underclassmen, and 31 South Dakotans are on DWU’s roster.

The Tigers have had a meager start on the plate, hitting .221 and slugging .278 as a team, with the latter ranking 194th out of 199 baseball-playing NAIA schools. The Tigers have 117 hits as a team but only 22 have gone for extra bases with three home runs, while scoring 2.89 runs per game. Rapid City freshman Lane Darrow leads the team in batting aver-

age at .328 and Mitchell product Drew Kitchens leads the team in on-base percentage at .383 and has driven in eight runs.

Teammate Diego Jirau, of Woodbury, Minnesota, has nine RBIs for DWU, including five extra-base hits.

Freshman Alexander Mizsak, a native of Jordan, Minnesota, leads the Tigers in innings pitched with 25. Sioux Falls Roosevelt product Dexter Payne has a team-best 2.57 earned-run average in 14 innings pitched, while junior Seth Christiansen, of Pocatello, Idaho, has the team lead for strikeouts with 20. Opponents are hitting .334 with a .470 on-base percentage against Tiger pitching this season.

Four teams have raced to the front of the GPAC standings, led by No. 19 Doane (22-8 overall), Mount Marty (247), Concordia (20-10) (which is receiving votes nationally) and Morningside (20-7). The Bulldogs were the GPAC preseason favorite, while DWU picked to finish 10th among the 11 teams.

The GPAC championship will be held May 4-6 with eight teams playing a double-elimination tournament in two, four-team pods at the high seeds. The pod winners will advance to a nine-inning, winnertake-all GPAC championship game on May 9.


DWU softball moved into a new era in 2023 under first-year DWU coach Tommy Downs, who moved into the job after a 38-win season and a national tournament appearance a season ago at Embry-Riddle University in Arizona. As of April 3, DWU held a 6-21 record and is 1-6 in a weather-impacted GPAC schedule.

For a second consecutive season, the Tigers are led offensively by

Alyssa Burke and McKinnely Mull. Burke, the junior outfielder from Rapid City, is hitting .380 at the plate with 35 hits and eight RBIs, while stealing 16 bases. Mull, a sophomore utility player from Vernal, Utah, has a team-leading eight home runs and has driven in 22 runs, while hit-

ting .402 for the season. The team lead for RBIs is held by sophomore catcher Peyton Bagley, a native of Rapid City, who has knocked in 28 runs with 17 extra-base hits in 27 games, including five home runs and six triples. She is hitting .398 and slugging .750. DWU has had its share


of struggles in the pitching circle, with a 7.04 earned-run average.

Senior Meghan Daffern leads the team in innings pitched with 78 1/3 innings and a 4-7 record.

Daffern has 36 strikeouts and a 6.61 earned-run average. Junior Katelyn Farris has thrown 68 1/3 innings with a 6.76 ERA,

28 strikeouts and a 2-9 record. Opponents are hitting .375 against Tiger pitching this year.

The Tigers have moved three GPAC home doubleheaders to road or neutral sites, playing twice at the Dordt Dome in Sioux Center, Iowa and playing rival Mount Marty in Yankton in early April because of the snowy field conditions in Mitchell.

As of April 2, No. 15-ranked Northwestern (27-2 overall) and Briar Cliff (20-6) lead the GPAC standings, while Dordt is 21-5. Midland was picked as the preseason favorite in the conference, with Northwestern as the second favorite. DWU was picked last among the conference’s 12 teams.

The top-eight teams in the regular-season standings advance to the double-elimination GPAC tournament, which is played in two, four-team pods starting May 3. The pod winners play in a best-of-three championship series on May 6.


16 | 2023 SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW | Saturday, april 8, 2023 | Mitchell republic, Mitchell, S.d Mitchellrepublic.coM
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DWU From Page 15
Dakota Wesleyan’s Peyton Bagley (1) slides safely into third base during a softball doubleheader against Hastings College on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at McWhirter Field. Dakota Wesleyan’s Drew Kitchens flips a ball over to first base during a game against Northwestern during the 2022 season at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.

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