West Central’s bid for a high school state baseball title ended just a little short at Sioux Falls Stadium on Tuesday, June 1st. West Central fell to Dell Rapids, a Region 3B foe, in the championship game 9-2 taking the 2021 South Dakota High School Baseball Association runner-up spot.
West Central’s run through the state tournament started on Monday, May 31st. They opened the tournament against Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian/White Lake/Corsica/Stickney and advanced after an exciting 6-5 win.
West Central scored the first three runs of the game. Zach Madsen hit an RBI single in the top of the second inning. West Central added two more runs in the top of the fifth on RBI singles by Dylan Sherrard and Loren Jacobson. PG/DC/WL/C/S tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but West Central added three in the top of the seventh. Grafton Stroup had a two-run double, and Jacobson scored on a wild pitch to give West Central a 6-3 lead. They needed all three runs as PG/DC/WL/C/S scored two times before Stroup was able to get the final out on the mound.
Ryan Healy, Jacobson, Madsen, Seth Gabbert, and Sherrard all had singles in the game. Jacobson, Madsen, and Sherrard all had an RBI. Stroup had a double and two RBIs, and Noah Hohn had a triple. Gabbert pitched five innings allowing three earned runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Stroup pitched the final two innings allowing two earned runs on three hits with one strikeout.
West Central defeated Vermillion in the semifinals on Tuesday. West Central scored six runs over the last three innings to secure the 9-4 victory to send them to the championship game.
They had three runs in the top of the first inning and led 3-0 until Vermillion scored a run in the bottom of the fourth. West Central added two runs in the top of the fifth, but Vermillion responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning to make the score 5-3 after five innings. West Central again added two runs in the top of the sixth inning for a 7-3 lead. Vermillion picked up a run in the bottom of the sixth, but two more runs by West Central in the top of the seventh put the game out of reach.
Healy and Madsen both had two hits and an RBI in the game. Jacobson also had two hits, including a double. Stroup had a triple and two RBIs. Hown had a double and an RBI. Ben Sebert and Gabbert both had a hit. Sherrard had a hit and three RBIs. Braden Herr pitched 4 2/3 innings giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Stroup pitched 1 1/3 innings allowing one run, which was unearned, on two hits with one walk and one strikeout. Hohn pitched the final inning allowing no runs on two hits.
West Central then faced Dell Rapids in the title game on Tuesday evening. West Central scored two times on three hits in the top of the first inning to put the pressure on Dell Rapids early. Hohn had an RBI single, and Adam Parsons had an RBI ground out in the inning. West Central, however, was held to just one hit the remainder of the game as Dell Rapids scored a run in the bottom of the second, five more in the third, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth for the win.
Jacobson had two of the four hits for West Central, including a double. Hohn had a hit and RBI, and Healy had the other hit in the game. Hohn pitched 4 1/3 innings allowing eight runs, only three earned, on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Jacobson pitched the final 1 2/3 innings allowing one earned run on four walks and a strikeout.
West Central finished the season with a 12-5 record and as the State B runner-up.