Aces hope to be competitive in unusual season

Andrew Holtan/Register: The South Dakota Amateur Baseball season started last week and the Aurora Aces fell to the Brookings Cubs 12-0. Aurora will play 14 games this season after the season was delayed due to COVID-19.

AURORA – The South Dakota Amateur Baseball season started last week and the Aurora Aces fell to the Brookings Cubs 12-0.

It was only the first game and Aurora manager Justin Behrend hopes his team can build on it and become more competitive as the season goes on.

“I think we’re going to be a better team than we were in years past,” Behrend said. “Our goal is to be in all of the Eastern Dakota League games. None of those games we should get blown out in. We should be able to win most of those games. That’s the type of team we have here.”

The 2020 amateur season was pushed back due to the coronavirus. The South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association have set guidelines for keeping people safe during the games. Behrend said it wasn’t that much different in their first game playing with these guidelines.

“You have to be a little more concious with the baseball’s and getting the field ready. You have to make sure you disinfect the dugouts. I wouldn’t say it is completely different, but you definitely have to be a little more cautious before and during the games.,” Behrend said.

The Aces play in the Eastern Dakota League which also includes the Volga Cormarants. In being more competitive, Behrend said they need to win more EDL games and to do that they need to pitch better.

“We have to throw more strikes. I think that’s the key for most teams. Have to throw more strikes and get base hits. Play fundamental baseball and get runs across when we can,” Behrend said.

Aurora had eight new players on the team this season and three of them are going to be starting. Behrend said having  1/3 of the starting lineup is going to be tough, but the Aces biggest strength is the older guys that they have.

“We have a good core of veteran leadership that I think knows how to win games. We’re trying to show these younger guys just how to play the amateur game and what you’re going to expect,” Behrend said.

Behrend added that he thinks the new players will be able to transition to amatuer baseball well.

“I think they’ll be able to handle [the transition] well. They’re good players and when it comes down to it, it’s just playing baseball,” he said.

The goal of every South Dakota amateur team is to make the State Tournament. That isn’t different with Aces.

“The goal is always to make the tournament. That is the season end goal,” Behrend said.

The Aces will play their next five games at Langland Field in Aurora. In total Aurora has nine home games and five away games. 

The first round amateur region games are scheduled for will be the weekend of Aug. 1-2. The State Tournament is scheduled for Aug. 7-9 and Aug. 14-16 in Mitchell. 

Aurora Aces Schedule

June 7 – vs. Milroy, 7:30 p.m.

June 12 – vs. Pipestone (Minn.), 7:30 p.m. 

June 17 – vs. Milbank, 2 p.m.

June 21 – vs. Sisseton, 7:30 p.m.

June 24 – vs. Lake Norden, 8 p.m.

June 28 – at Clark, 4 p.m.

July 1 – at Bryant, 8 p.m.

July 5 – vs. Clear Lake, 5 p.m.

July 8 – vs. Volga, 8 p.m.

July 12 – at Castlewood Ravens, 7 p.m.

July 15 – at Castlewood Monarchs, 8 p.m.

July 19 – vs. Renner Rangers, 4 p.m.

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