High School Softball

Cossacks hope to continue special first season with SoDak 16 win

By Andrew Holtan

The Brookings Register

Posted 5/21/24

Sioux Valley will be the No. 7 seed in the Class A Softball SoDak 16 on Tuesday and the Cossacks will be welcoming the No. 10 seeded Elk-Point Jefferson Huskies to Volga.

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High School Softball

Cossacks hope to continue special first season with SoDak 16 win


VOLGA — Sioux Valley will be the No. 7 seed in the Class A Softball SoDak 16 on Wednesday and the Cossacks will be welcoming the No. 10 seeded Elk-Point Jefferson Huskies to Volga.

The Cossacks come into the matchup with a 16-5 record and have won six-straight games. Sioux Valley head coach Tatum Sonnenberg said her team is looking forward to playing for a trip to the State Tournament.

“We’re excited to be playing and are hoping the weather holds up, but if it doesn’t we’ll be ready. We’ve played a few games in the rain. But overall we’re just excited to play a game in the sweet 16 and a home game as well,” Sonnenberg said.

Elk-Point Jefferson is 8-9 and lost two of its final three games. The Cossacks and Huskies did not play in the regular season and have just two common opponents in Beresford and Alcester-Hudson. The Huskies beat Alcester-Hudson 9-8, while the Cossacks fell to the Cubs 12-4. Sioux Valley lost to Beresford 14-9 and EPJ split two games with the Watchdogs, winning 19-18 and losing 17-12.

Sonnenberg said she and her team don’t know a lot about the Huskies but that’s nothing new because this is the first season of sanctioned softball for Sioux Valley.

“Honestly, we don’t know much about [EPJ] playing wise,” she said. “We mostly just know their record, but I think that’s what’s held us together this year. Not preparing for one situation or another, but just kind of going in with this is what we’re good at and what our strengths are and playing to our strengths versus thinking about what the other team is bringing. I’d love to learn more about them as a team, but unfortunately we don’t have much information about them, so we’re just preparing the way we’ve prepared for all the teams we’ve faced without knowing anything about them.”

Sioux Valley is tied for fourth in Class A in runs per game with 9.9 per game. The Cossacks have also done a good job in the circle as they give up 4.5 runs per game, which is fifth in the class.

Sioux Valley has leaned on freshman Zaylee Lantgen and sophomore Abby Axtell for its pitching and Sonnenberg said she knew from the beginning of the season that those two would be carrying the load in the circle.

“From the very beginning I knew they were going to be good for us and good for our pitching game. I knew from the beginning that they were going to be some solid go-to’s for us, but they have proved that throughout the season so far as well. What they’ve improved on and their work ethic and their mentality when they’re in the circle and having those leadership skills [has been great]. It’s definitely held strong since the beginning of the season coming in,” Sonnenberg said.

Tuesday’s winner will head to the State Tournament which will be held in Aberdeen May 30-June 1. With the State Tournament on the line and the chance of the season ending if you lose, Sonnenberg said it will be important for her team to come in with the right mindset.

“I think coming and being mentally in the game from the start [will be key]. They’re aware that it’s a one game and you’re done kind of situation and that we have to come out with our best foot forward. We’ve been talking about that mindset for the past couple of days now, with knowing who we’re playing. Being prepared from the start and being there for eachother for the start and pushing through the tough moments and knowing that our teammates are going to be there to pick us up [will be huge],” Sonnenberg said.

When it comes to the play on the field, Sonnenberg added that the Cossacks will need to take it one out at a time and finish out each inning.

“I think it’s going to take a whole team effort. I definitely want to see some good movement from our pitchers and hitting our spots. I want to see some strong leads with our bats and get started right away with those. Then defensively, it will just be about following through and finishing out each inning. Not letting ourselves get down with a few outs or no outs and just following through with finishing out each inning the best way we can and picking up in areas where things are lacking,” Sonneberg said.

With it being the first year of sanctioned softball at Sioux Valley, a trip to the State Tournament would be special not only for the team, but the community that supported the school adding the program to its athetlic department.

“[Going to the State Tournament] is what everyone’s goal is, right?,” Sonneberg said. “As a first year sanctioned school sport, I think it speaks volumes to what the community has built for this team and throughout the years for these girls playing. I would want nothing more for our team to carry that through and be able to show that all of the things that they’ve done leading up to school ball being school ball has paid off.

“Just trusting in our team and in our process, it would mean a lot to our team, not only myself as a first year head coach, but the school being a first year program. With what the community has done to get this at our school, making state would mean a lot to us.”

First pitch between the Cossacks and Huskies is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday.