The Milbank Firechiefs join 31 teams in a quest for the crown at the 2023 South Dakota Class B State Amateur Baseball Tournament. (See results below from their district games.) On Sunday, officials announced the Firechiefs will play the leadoff game against Lennox Only One on Wednesday, August 2, at 5:30 p.m. All the games of the 12-day state tournament will be played at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
Officials also announced Sunday night that Garretson, runners up at the 2022 state tournament, and Redfield Dairy Queen were both disqualified from the state tournament due to rules infractions. Both teams had used an American Legion player during their district play offs. The teams had claimed their district titles before they were notified they were barred from postseason play. Garretson’s coach responded by saying he had checked with the district commissioner for clearance on using the Legion player, and he had been given the green light. The commissioner later apologized for giving him incorrect information, but the disqualification ruling was not reversed.
If the Firechiefs win Game 1 on Wednesday, they advance to Round Two and play the winner of Game 2. That game starts the second round of the tournament and is scheduled for Sunday, August 6 at 5:30 p.m. The Quarterfinals begin Thursday, August 10. The Semifinals take place on Saturday, August 12. The Championship game is set for Sunday, August 13, at 2 p.m.
FIRST ROUND SCHEDULE:
Wednesday, August 2
G1: Lennox Only One vs. Milbank – 5:30 p.m.
G2: Flandreau vs. Lake Norden -7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 3
G3: Akron, Iowa vs. Tabor – 11 a.m.
G4: Lennox/Chancellor-Worthing vs. Dell Rapids Mudcats – 1 p.m.
G5: Plankinton vs. Winner-Colome – 5:30 p.m.
G6: Mount Vernon vs. Four Corners – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, August 4
G7: Platte vs. Lesterville – 11 a.m.
G8: Menno vs. Northville – 1 p.m.
G9: Canova vs. Elkton – 5:30 p.m.
G10: Clark vs. Alexandria – 7:30 p.m.Saturday, August 5
G11: Wessington Springs vs. Larchwood – 11 a.m.
G12: Hartford/Humboldt Gamecocks vs. Crofton – 1 p.m.
G13: Dimock/Emery vs. Miller/Wessington – 5:30 p.m.
G14: Kimball/White Lake vs. Elk Point – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 6
G15: Parkston Mudcats vs. Dell Rapids PBR – 11 a.m.G16: Madison vs. Volga – 1 p.m.Second Round Sunday, August 6
G17: G1 winner vs. G2 winner, 5:30 p.m.G18: G3 winner vs. G4 winner, 7:30 p.m.
Firechiefs Win Third in District 1B to Advance to State Tourney
The Firechiefs punched their ticket to the state tourney on Monday, July 24, when they emerged victorious in a 4-0 game against the Castlewood Monarchs in district play. Milbank had defeated the Ramona Express in the first round of the District 1B tournament 15-0 and then had fallen to Volga 5-2. In their win against Castlewood, pitcher Dom Boerger racked up 21 strikeouts. Lake Norden won the district tournament, Volga placed second, Milbank third, Clark fourth, and Elkton fifth. These five teams earned the opportunity to represent District 1B at State.
In the first game of the District 1B tournament, Kaden Krause led off the bottom of the first with a single to centerfield. Kellen Hoeke followed with a walk to put runners on first and second. Mitch Quade drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases for Dom Boerger. Boerger reached on an error from Ramona’s defense. Milbank took an early 1-0 lead. Brady Krause and Mikey Karges each drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Firechiefs up 3-0. Taylor Boerger drew one more bases-loaded walk to push Milbank’s final run of the inning across home plate.
D. Boerger got the bottom of the third started with a leadoff walk. B. Krause followed with a single to right field. Tyler Krause again loaded the bases with a walk. T. Boerger lined a single to center to take the score to 6-0. T. Krause scored on a wild pitch to give the Firechiefs a 7-0 lead after three innings.The Firechiefs added another run in the bottom of the fourth. Quade and D. Boerger hit back-to-back singles and B. Krause followed with a walk to load the bases. T. Boerger reached on an error by the third baseman to put Milbank ahead 8-0.
Milbank’s lone run in the bottom half of the fifth came from a solo homerun from Merik Junker. He blasted a ball over the right field fence to move the score to 9-0.The first five batters in the bottom of the sixth drew walks and Milbank’s lead grew to 11-0. Kellen Hoeke reached first on a fielder’s choice to score T. Krause, and Merik Junker drove home Milbank’s 13th run when he reached on an error. Quade ended the game with a single to right field to score Hoeke and Junker. Milbank collected a first round win!
Taylor Boerger threw all six innings to earn the win on the bump for Milbank. His impressive stat line included only one hit. He allowed no runs and tallied 14 strikeouts.
In game two, the Firechiefs took on the Volga Cormorants. Milbank had swept the season series with Volga by winning both games in double-header action just a couple weeks before.Volga scored five runs in the top of the third. Milbank continued to push back throughout the game, including in the bottom of the fifth. Justus Osborn singled to right field. Brady Femling lined a ball to right field, which wasn’t caught, to move Osborn to third. T. Boerger grounded out to the shortstop, but it was deep enough to score Osborn and put the Firechiefs on the board 5-1.
Milbank’s last run came in the bottom of the ninth. Merik Junker blasted his second home run of the tournament to left field. The Firechiefs added a tick to their score, but fell 5-2 despite a strong pitching performance from D. Boerger. He threw 6 1/3 innings in relief and struck out 16 batters while allowing only one hit.
The Firechiefs were back in action the following night against the Castlewood Monarchs for a chance to be Rep 2 out of District 1B. Milbank’s brilliance propelled them to a 4-0 victory and clinched their berth in the state tournament.
K. Krause led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to left field. He stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Hoeke hit a sacrifice fly to right field to give Milbank their first run of the game. B. Krause got the offense going again with a single to centerfield. D. Boerger scored him during the next at-bat with a double to the right-center gap to take the score to 2-0. Quade scored Boerger from second with a single to right field to increase Milbank’s lead to 3-0.
Milbank tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. T. Boerger singled on a ball to left field to lead off the inning. T. Boerger was moved to second on a sac bunt from K. Krause and advanced to third when a ball got by the Castlewood catcher. Hoeke hit another sacrifice fly — this one to left field — to score T. Boerger and put the Firechiefs up 4-0.D. Boerger went the distance on the hill. He allowed zero runs and three hits and struck out 21 Monarch batters. The duo of T. and D. Boerger piled up a combined 51 strikeouts in the District 1B Tournament.
See the Milbank Firechiefs in state tournament action on August 2 in Mitchell.