BAKER, SCHERSCHLIGT TO JOIN S.D. AMATEUR BASEBALL HOF
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
Two amateur baseball greats with ties to the Freeman community will be inducted into the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame who will be recognized Saturday, Aug. 6 during the South Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament in Mitchell, and at a hall of fame banquet in Tabor Saturday, Nov. 5.
Ron Baker and the late Warren Scherschligt are among this year’s class. The others include Chris Brown, who played for a Brookings team that dominated the Class A ranks in the late 1990s and early 2000s; Jay Kusler, who enjoyed a stellar 22-year career with Aberdeen and Redfield; and Gary Kortan, whose successful baseball career included a quarter-century with amateur baseball that included Avon and Tabor. (Incidentally, Kortan has a Freeman connection as well in that a cousin, Scott, played for Freeman’s amateur team in the later 1990s/early 2000s.
As for Baker, who is a Scotland native who also played with Freeman and was a successful coach at Freeman Public, and Scherschligt, who moved to Freeman with his family in the 1990s and watched his three sons, Brett, Lee and Allan, all play for the local town team, here’s what a press release has to say about their careers.
The Scotland native proved his worth as a standout all-around athlete when he earned 12 letters while playing college baseball, football and basketball at USD-Springfield.
His amateur baseball career in South Dakota lasted 18 years from 1968 through 1986 and included seven seasons with his hometown team and the final 11 seasons with Freeman. He played in the state tournament every year, either with his own team or as a pickup player.
One of the big highlights during his career was winning the state tournament batting title when he batted .526 to help lead Scotland to the 1975 state B championship. Scotland edged Renner 7-6 in the title game.
The second baseman proved to be a consistent .400 hitter during his career and also hit with power, highlighted by a 21-homer season.
Baker also enjoyed a lengthy career as a high school boys basketball coach in the state, guiding Freeman teams for many years while also coaching at Sioux Falls Washington.
Scherschligt played little league, teener and American Legion baseball in his hometown of Lesterville and was a Teener pickup player for Canova teams that won consecutive state titles before enjoying an amateur baseball career that comprised 19 seasons, 18 for Lesterville in the South Central League and one with Chamberlain in the Pony Hills League.
Scherschligt batted over .400 three times during his career and in his final year (age 38), he led the South Central League in hits and batted .387 while playing an error-less first base. Also noted as good defensive centerfielder early in his career, he also enjoyed success as a left-handed pitcher on the mound.
He finished his career with a .382 lifetime batting average and also displayed some pop, twice hitting three home runs in one game and also hitting two homers in an inning on two occasions.
Scherschligt continued his involvement with baseball after his playing career ended, serving as the vice president of the South Central League while assisting in a wide variety of positions at ball games in Lesterville. He also received the Mark Mehlhaf Memorial Comeback Award in 2013 after batting cancer, which eventually took his life in 2019.
He joins his father Les Scherschligt, uncle Ray Scherschligt and father-in-law Joe Walters in the Hall of Fame.