Titans Gold 16U claim Region 4A Title
By Anne Homan,
Pictured are the Region 4A Champions. They include, from left to right, (back row): Coach Rick Willemssen, Ian Benally, Jacob Bender, Aedan Wahl, Nate Christensen, Boston Willemssen, Andrew Opland, Coach Rob Schramm; (front row): Tim Halbur, Teagan Dedula, Ethan Vis, Christian Seversen, Sam Werdel, Mason Schramm, and Carter Turek. Not Pictured is Gavin Johnson. Photo: Courtesy
The Tea Titans Gold 16U baseball team continued their strong season by winning the Region 4A title last week in Vermillion, advancing to the State A Tournament.
The Titans entered the Region Tournament with a 23-6 record on the season and faced off with Beresford in the opening round on Monday, July 25.
Tea jumped out to a 3-1 lead after three innings of play, and tacked on four runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, giving them the 11-1 victory in 5 innings. Sam Werdel handled pitching duties on the mound, surrendering only five hits, while striking out eight batters.
The Titans’ offense was lead by Werdel, Teagan Dedula, and Andrew Opland, all having two hits each. Dedula’s two were a double and a triple. Aedan Wahl knocked out the the team’s first home run of the season sending it over the left centerfield wall in the fifth inning of play against Beresford.
With the win, Tea advanced to the second round, also on Monday night, facing off with the host team, Vermillion.
This back-and-forth game found the two teams tied at 4 after the seven innings of play. In the extra innings, Vermillion managed to breakthrough in the ninth inning to score and defeat the Titans in heart-breaking fashion, 5-4.
Against Vermillion, the Titans were lead by Werdel, who went 3-5 at the plate, including a double.
With the loss, Tea had their backs against the wall.
With Dakota Valley hosting the State Class A tournament, they were automatically awarded a spot in the State Tournament. This meant, with the loss to Vermillion, Tea would have to defeat Dakota Valley in thrid round and then need to beat Vermillion in back-to-back games in order to advance to the State Tournament.
The Titans were up to the challenge.
After rain washed out Tuesday night’s action, the Titans were back in Vermillion on Wednesday night, July 27 to play Dakota Valley, but the rain, once again, played a factor. The game was moved to Beresford before Dakota Valley and Tea were finally able to square off.
The Titans got off to an early 5-0 lead after two innings and Boston Willemssen’s perfomance on the mound sealed the deal for Tea. Willemssen pitched six innings giving up only one run and striking out six. Mason Schramm finished things out on the mound as Tea went on to defeat Dakota Valley 8-4.
Offensively, the Titans were lead by Ethan Vis who had two hits in the game, 3 RBI’s, and a double.
With the win over Dakota Valley, Tea advanced into the Region 4A Championship against Vermillion on Thursday, July 28. The Titans would have to win two straight against Vermillion if they wanted a shot at State.
In the first match-up, Nate Christensen pitched a complete game shutout, giving up six hits, walking no one, and striking out four. The Titans defense was also solid and Tea was able to win the pitching deuel, grabbing the 3-0 victory.
Tea was lead with RBI singles from Vis, Wahl, and Opland. Vis collected two hits, with Willemssen and Schramm also adding hits.
The victory set the stage for a third game between these two teams, and at State was a trip to the 2022 16U South Dakota VFW State A Tournament.
The Championship game was a battle until the end. The two teams were tied at 1 after five innings. Tea’s defense managed to complete a double play on a bases loaded, home-to-first play to keep things tied.
Tea’s offense scratched out the go ahead run on a Schramm base hit, followed by a throwing error by Vermillion. Wahl then knocked in an insurance run on a base hit, scoring Werdel which game the Titans a 3-1 lead.
Christian Seversen was given the ball to close things out on the mound, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. In the final three innings he gave up zero runs, no hits, no walks, and recorded two strikeouts. The final out coming on a ground ball to second baseman, Werdel, who threw it to first baseman, Willemssen, and just like that the Titans had punched their ticket to the State A Tournament scheduled for Aug. 5-7 in North Sioux City, SD.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. They battled for four straight games behind absolutely phenomenal pitching and defense,” said Coach Rob Schramm. “Going into the regionals we figured that our offense would carry us through the tournament, but like most baseball games, it never goes the way you expect it to. We are looking forward to a successful State Tournament.”
In the opening round of the State Tournament, the Titans are scheduled to play Madison Gold on Friday, Aug. 5, at 2:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to play the winner of the West Central/Flandreau game played prior to on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 4 p.m. The Championship game is slated for Sunday, Aug. 7 at 4 p.m. The Consolation Championship game will be played Sunday at 11 a.m. and the third/fourth place game will be played on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.