A Dell Rapids 14U team has qualified for the 2020 South Dakota VFW 14U Class A State Tournament which will be held July 17th – 19th in Chamberlain. Dell Rapids is currently playing in the Region 1A tournament in Tea and will play for the region championship on Thursday, July 9th.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s teener season saw many changes. The I29 Teener League in which the 13 and 14-year-olds of Dell Rapids usually play was canceled, which left teams across the area to find their own way to build a season schedule. Some teams opted to find games with other teams in the area to build their own schedule, like the Dell Rapids 16U and 19U teams did, while other teams opted to play in the Sioux Empire Baseball Association (SEBA) league. A group of 13-year-olds from Dell Rapids put a team together and opted to play in the SEBA league this summer and also registered themselves with the South Dakota VFW for region/state tournament play.
The Dell Rapids 14U team was placed in Region 1A along with Tri-Valley, Lennox, Volga, and Tea with the tournament being played in Tea Monday, July 6th through Thursday, July 9th. There are four regions in the state, and the top two teams in each region qualify for the state tournament.
Dell Rapids played their first game against Lennox on Monday, July 6th. They earned a 6-1 victory by scoring a run in the second inning, one in the third, two in the fourth, and two more in the fifth inning. Lennox got their only run in the top of the third inning. Quinn Carr had a hit with two RBIs. Tad Tjaden, Lincoln Fersdahl, Cooper Frost, and Carson Crosby also had hits in the game. Carr pitched the first 1 2/3 innings giving up two walks and four strikeouts. Frost pitched the next 1 1/3 innings giving up an earned run on one with with two walks and a strikeout. Fersdahl pitched the final four innings giving up just two hits while walking three and striking out four batters.
Dell Rapids then played Tea in the semifinals on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 7th. Tea used a big third inning, scoring six times, to take a 12-6 victory putting Tea in the championship game and the state tournament.
Dell Rapids got a run back in the bottom of the third inning to trail 6-1. Tea added a run in the fourth inning and pushed their lead back to six at 7-1. They added three more in the top of the fifth inning to push the lead to 10-1. Dell Rapids got three runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the bottom of the sixth to pull within four at 10-6. Tea, however, pushed two more runs across the plate in the top of the seventh to secure the win. Tjaden and Carr both had three hits each in the game. Cole Ruesink also had a hit. Brandon Schmidt finished with two RBIs, while Carr and Tjaden each had an RBI. Tjaden pitched three innings giving up six runs, five earned, on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Ruesink pitched two innings giving up four runs, one earned, on four hits with two walks. Frost pitched the final two innings giving up two earned runs on two hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Dell Rapids only had a break for a game as they had to play a second game later in the evening on Tuesday. In an elimination game, Dell Rapids rallied for nine runs in the final three innings to get a 10-9 come-from-behind win.
Volga scored two runs in the bottom of the second for an early 2-0 lead. Dell Rapids got a run in the top of the third, but Volga answered with two in the bottom of the inning for a 4-1 lead. Volga then got three more in the fourth inning and led 7-1. Dell Rapids rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth inning to cut the lead to 7-5. Volga got a run back in the bottom of the fifth and still lead 8-5. Dell Rapids pulled closer with two more runs in the top of the sixth, but again Volga got another run in the bottom of the inning and led 9-7 heading into the seventh. Dell Rapids then rallied for three runs and then held Volga scoreless for the 10-9 win.
Carr had three hits and three RBIs in the game. Tjaden and Schmidt both had two hits and an RBI. Frost had a hit and an RBI, and Ruesink also had a hit. Carr pitched 2 1/3 innings giving up four runs, two earned, on one hit with five walks and five strikeouts. Frost pitched 2 2/3 innings giving up four earned runs on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Tjaden pitched an inning giving up an unearned run on one walk and two strikeouts. Ruesink pitched the final inning giving up a hit and walk, but struck out three batters.
The win over Volga sends Dell Rapids the championship game and the state tournament. Dell Rapids will play Tea in a rematch on Thursday, July 9th at 6:00 p.m. Should Dell Rapids win that game, another game will be played at 8:00 p.m. The region champion will go to the state tournament as the Region 1 number one seed, and the runner-up will go to the state tournament as the Region 1 number two seed.
Dell Rapids 14U Region/State Roster
- Tad Tjaden
- Brandon Schmidt
- Cooper Frost
- Ethan Vanderwerf
- Carson Crosby
- Lane Weiland
- Quinn Carr
- Grady Lamer
- Cole Ruesink
- Lincoln Fersdahl
- Talan Millage
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