BROOKINGS – It has been quite the season for the Brookings amateur baseball team. The Cubs finished the regular season 17-2 and this weekend they are hoping to qualify for the State Tournament in the North District Tournament in Aurora.
The Cubs started off the season 1-1 and then proceeded to win their next 15 games. 11 of those 15 wins in-a-row came via the 10-run rule. Brookings’ manager JaColby Anderson said he feels really good about his team heading into the district tournament.
“I feel pretty good compared to years past,” JaColby said. “We have a good mixture of older guys with some experience and then some young guys. I think this year we have younger talent that came in and have contributed nicely with the guys that are a little bit older on the team. I think a lot of that has led to the success for the entire season.”
Brookings will face Mitchell in game one of the tournament. If they win that they will face the winner of Aberdeen and Castlewood. The winner of that game gets a bid to the State Tournament while the team that loses has to win one more game.
Brookings has not played Mitchell this season but the Cubs are the No.1 seed and Mitchell is No. 4. They beat Castlewood 19-5 and topped Aberdeen 12-1. JaColby said that his team knows that they’ve had success against the other teams in the tournament, but they can’t get ahead of themselves.
“I talked to the guys and our approach is to just take it one game at a time. We’ve had a few meetings throughout the season and my message is ‘the only team that can beat us is ourselves.’ In the end we just have to take care of business one game at a time. We’ve been in this situation before a couple years ago where we had a good season and went into district play thinking we had it won and ended up losing two games right away,” JaColby said.
The Cubs as a team are hitting .364 which is astounding. They have 20 home runs and 53 extra base hits which has led to them scoring 226 runs. They are led by Sam McMacken who is hitting .523 with five home runs and 15 doubles. They have two other players hitting over .400 in Ty Schneider and Jake Anderson who are hitting .462 and .407, respectively.
“I feel real confident that we have a bunch of guys who could be hitting third on other teams. Of course not everybody can’t hit third on our team. Some guys probably find it very uncharacteristic to bat eighth or ninth, but it’s a really good problem to have. I feel really good about our lineup and we’ve faced some good pitching this summer and have proven that we can hit good pitching,” JaColby said.
Brookings hasn’t just been impressive on offense though. They have a team earned run average of 2.92 and have only allowed 46 runs. They have a walked hits per innings pitched as a team is 1.282.
JaColby said the having Joey Texley come back on the team has been huge for the Cubs. Texley has started five games and has won all of them. He has pitched 33 innings with an ERA of 3.00 and has 28 strikeouts and eight walks.
“We brought Joey Texley back. Last year he was off the team because he had some other commitments. Getting him back has been huge because he’s pitched a lot of innings for us. Most of the year he’s been our ace and who we’ve relied on the most,” JaColby said.
Jake Devine has also been good for the Cubs. He is 1-0 in four starts with an ERA of 2.31 and has 50 strikeouts and 19 walks.
The Cubs are definitely the favorites to win the district tournament and are heavily favored to make the State Tournament. If they can make the State Tournament their hopes are to make a run at a championship. JaColby said if they want to do that they just have to take it one game at a time.
“I think just like we did with our win streak, continue to play one game at a time,” JaColby said. “Focusing on what we need to do and take care of business pitching wise and defensively and hitting. If we can continue to go on a tear with those three aspects of the game we’ll be good. I think the other thing we have going for us is that we have a good comrottery with the Cubs this year. If we can just maintain and continue to play at high level, I think we have a good shot heading into the State Tournament.”
Brookings game against Mitchell begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday. If they win they will play at 7 p.m. Saturday and if they lose they will play at noon on Sunday.