August 19, 2019

Madison Black hoping tough schedule will pay high dividends - Daily Leader Extra : Sports

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Madison Black hoping tough schedule will pay high dividends

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Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 2:37 pm

The Madison Black (13&14) VFW Teener Baseball team will be taking a 13-10 record to the 14U Class A Tournament this weekend at Flynn Field in Madison.

"We have played quality competition this year," said Madison Black Coach Dean Gehrels.

Four of the eight teams that qualified for the State Tournament are from the I-29 League, of which Madison is a member. Other I-29 teams that will be playing in the tournament are Dell Rapids, West Central and Flandreau.

"The I-29 League regular-season champions, Tea Navy, didn't qualify for the State Tournament," Gehrels said.

Madison has played six games against four teams that qualified besides their I-29 League foes. They also played Spearfish (14) twice in the Region Tournament.

Madison Black is made up of all 14-year-old players.

Madison will tangle with West Central in the opening-round game on Friday at 8 p.m.

"West Central beat us 11-0 in late June," Gehrels said. "West Central is a very sound team with good pitching."

According to Gehrels, the key for Madison is to make routine plays in the field and hit the ball to put pressure on West Central's defense.

"In the earlier meeting, we committed four errors and only had two hits," Gehrels said. "If we can make plays, our pitching is generally good enough to keep us in the game."

Gehrels believes that Madison has been playing at a much higher level in all aspects of the game during the last two weeks.

"I expect a more competitive game on Friday night," he said.

According to Gehrels, Madison's major strength is depth of pitching.

"Frankly, that's how most teams can survive region play to get to the state tournament," he said. "The pitching staff has been plagued by momentary lack of control and lack of defensive support, which has allowed too many base runners, but this group of pitchers is capable of holding down opposing offenses with a little defensive support."

Playing a tough schedule has also helped Madison Black to prepare for this weekend.

"Madison has learned that every game is a battle, and you have to bring your best effort to compete," Gehrels said.

Gehrels said that any of the eight teams that have qualified for the State Tournament are capable of running the table and collecting the championship hardware.

"I expect it will come down to the basics. The team that has their pitchers throw strikes and gets some timely hitting will be in great position to win, and any team in this tournament is capable of doing this for three straight games," Gehrels said.

The tournament will begin at noon on Friday at Flynn Field. In the opening game, Spearfish (14) will tangle with Lennox, followed by Dakota Valley (14) against Flandreau at 2:30 p.m. In the evening bracket, Dell Rapids will face Elk Point-Jefferson at 5:30 p.m. and Madison Black will battle West Central at 8 p.m.

There will be four games starting at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, there will be just three games on tap with the consolation championship game at noon, followed by the third and fourth place game at 2:30 p.m. and the championship game at 5 p.m.

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