JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
For generations in both Freeman and Menno, baseball has been one of the hottest summertime tickets in town, so why should 2023 be any different?
From youth ball clubs to teener teams to amateur squads that go by the names Blacksox and Mad Frogs, the season on the diamond has been underway since last month and, for some, will continue well into July.
Here’s a closer look.
With two close victories in their last three games — a 3-2 win over Lesterville Sunday night and a 9-8 victory over Menno one week earlier — Freeman’s town team stands at 5-6 heading into their game at Crofton Thursday, June 22. Regular season games continue through July 16 (a schedule can be found at ballcharts.com/freemanblacksox) with the district tournament scheduled to begin July 21 at Crofton. According to the team’s website, this year’s roster includes:
Carter Arens, Trey Christensen, Owen Feser, Jackson Fiegen, Phil Madsen, Chet Peterson, Mace Plucker, Bailey Sage, Blake Schroedermeier, Evan Scharberg, Micah Swensen and Jake Weier (player/manager).
For Menno, an 0-7 start has included three games that could have very easily gone the other way — a 9-8 loss to Freeman and a 6-5 loss to Tabor, both in extra innings — and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lesterville to start the season on May 21. The Mad Frogs will have a rematch with the Broncs at home on Thursday, June 22.
Like Freeman, Menno will also take part in the district tournament hosted by Crofton July 21-29. According to the app GameChanger, this year’s Mad Frogs roster includes:
Dustin Livingston, Spencer Schultz, Dylan Lehr, Preston Gall, Austin Pillsbury, Brayden Sattler, Tyler Miller, Caleb Preszler (player/manager), Dustin Lehr, Tate Reiner, Jacob Schott, Levi Bender, Ajay Herrboldt, Jamison Kleinsasser, Tate Gale, Treyton Sayler, Ajay Herrboldt, Logan Klaudt, Doug Hall, Macon Oplinger, Kyle Munkvold and Tom Sattler.
The Sticks, a team made up primarily of players from Freeman that also includes representation from Canistota and Marion, are fielding two teener teams playing with South Dakota VFW Baseball.
The 16U teeners stood at 5-2 heading into its home game in Freeman against Corsica-Stickney June 21. The 16U roster includes: Riley Gall, Rocky Ammann, Sawyer Wipf, Riley Tschetter, Easton Miller, Luke Peters, Al Knittel, Evan Scharberg, Oliver Waltner, Jackson Donlan, Tayden Kerrigan, Logun Pankratz, Easton Tschetter and Tannen Auch.
The 14U teener team took a 7-0 record into Wednesday night’s game against Corsica-Stickney. That roster includes: Riley Gall, Domani Butler, Justin Escobar, Luke Peters, Al Knittel, Oliver Waltner, Rylen Tommeraus, Tayden Kerrigan, Logun Pankratz, Easton Tschetter, Tannen Auch and Hunter Nankivel.
Scotland/Menno is also fielding a 16U and 14U teener team through the VFW league, and both teams stand at 3-3 heading into their games at Salem on Monday, June 26.
According to GameChanger, the 16U roster includes the following: Hunter Clark, Kory Keppen, Brayden Ziegler, Bryce Sattler, Jarret Andretta, Erick Buechler, Izayah Ulmer, Treytan Bult, Sam Anderson, Parker Hochstein, Ashton Dennis, Trent Guthmiller, Brayson Meng and Caden Ganschow.
According to GameChanger, the 14U roster includes the following: Hunter Clark, Jarret Andretta, Micah Goehring, Cain Healy, Izayah Ulmer, Sam Andersen, Mirik Vaith, Cayden Ganschow, Jayden Zeeb, Riley Keppen, CJ Jandreau, Adam Munkvold, Jacob Schaeffer, Ryder Hauck, Brody Meng, Brayson Meng and Noah Pietz.
The postseason format for teener baseball includes a region tournament followed by a state tournament for qualifying teams. The 14U region tournaments will be played July 10-13 while the 16U will play July 24-27.
The 14U state tournament will be held at Corsica July 21-23 while the 16U will play at Parkston Aug. 4-6.