Jul. 28—GREGORY, S.D. — The top eight Class B American Legion baseball teams are set to descend on Gregory for the state tournament, beginning Friday, July 29 through Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Seven region winners, including area teams Winner/Colome Post 169 and Platte/Geddes Post 115, and the host Gregory County Post 6, will compete in a double-elimination bracket.
Here is a look at each area team in the tournament:
Platte/Geddes enters the state tournament with a strong resume, and is one of five teams in the tournament to participate in both of the Class B spring high school state tournament and the Class B Legion tournament (Dell Rapids, Platte/Geddes, Redfield, West Central, Winner/Colome). Post 115 began the season on a seven-game winning streak and two of its three losses have been by one score. Platte/Geddes also earned the Region 4B title with a 4-2 win over Tabor.
Aiden Bultje has been having a great season for Platte/Geddes, posting a team-best .418 batting average, while also leading the team in hits (23) and runs scored (23). Bultje is also second on the team in stolen bases at 14. Dawson Hoffman leads the team at the mound with 26 innings pitched and 37 strikeouts. Bultje and Caden Oberbroekling have both pitched over 16 innings this season and have combined to throw over 55 strikeouts.
Post 115 scores on average 5.2 runs per contest this season and have only allowed its opponents to score more than five runs five times this summer. Platte/Geddes' pitching rotation extends deep as they've had three other pitchers, Carter Lenz, Jackson Neuman and Dakota Munger, pitch more than 11 innings thus far.
Winner/Colome, winners of the Region 7B tournament, enter the state tournament having won six of its last nine games.
To make the state tournament, Winner/Colome beat Gregory County twice and Belle Fourche once to advance. The final win over Gregory County to seal the region title and advance to the state tournament, was won by Post 169 notching 16 runs, its most of the season.
Winner/Colome averages 6.5 runs per game this season and when they score five runs or more, their record is 9-0. Complete season stats were not available.
Gregory County has home-field advantage for this year's state tournament and hopes to carry its winning ways at home into the postseason after finishing runner-up in the Region 7B tournament. During the month of July, Gregory County has won 11 of its 14 games, including five of its six home games.
In its first game of the double-elimination bracket, Gregory County will face Platte/Geddes, a team they haven't seen since the earlier part of the season. Gregory County lost to Platte/Geddes 13-3 back on June 14, but has gone 14-3 from that point forward.
Offensively, Gregory County will have to continue to pile on runs. Gregory County averaged 10.6 runs in the 16 wins they've earned this season. Trey Murray led the team in hits this year with 25, while Bryce Frank led the team in RBIs with 22. Outside of Murray, Rylan Peck, Gannon Thomas and Frank all have more than 20 hits this year. Besides Frank, Ben Witt, Brogan Glover and Peck have more than 15 RBIs.
Throughout the season, Frank has been the most-relied upon at the mound, pitching 40 innings in 11 games played. Frank has an ERA of 1.89 and has struck out 36 batters. Witt and Glover have also been integral pitchers in Gregory County's rotation, as they've both pitched over 22 innings apiece and struck out at least 22 batters.