Seven men to be inducted into South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame

Inductees will be honored during banquet in Sioux Falls on Nov. 3

By Roger Merriam

Watertown Public Opinion

Posted 6/28/24

Seven men who have made a lasting impression are set to be honored by the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and South Dakota Umpires Association Hall of Fame later this year.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Seven men to be inducted into South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame

Inductees will be honored during banquet in Sioux Falls on Nov. 3


Seven men who have made a lasting impression are set to be honored by the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and South Dakota Umpires Association Hall of Fame later this year.

Mark Payne and Michael Clapp of Sioux Falls, Devin Alfson of Hartford, Matt Stevenson of Hayti and Brent Osborn of Redfield have been selected for induction into the SDABA Hall of Fame.

In addtion, Gene Bierle of Sioux Falls is set to be inducted into the South Dakota Umpires Association Hall of Fame along with honorary inductee Joe Van Goor of Yankton.

The honorees will be honored a between Class B semifinals games in the state amateur baseball tournament on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Cadwell Park in Mitchell and during a banquet scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Shanty Haven in Redfield. Ticket information and other details on the banquet will be released later.

Here at the biographies of the honorees:

Mark Payne

The Sioux Falls native was a three-time all-conference in American Legion Baseball for the Sioux Falls Blackbirds in 1977-79, earning team MVP honors his final year, and also earned All-North Central Conference honors in 1982 and 1983 at Augustana College.

The talented left-handed first baseman (who batted around .375 during his career) and pitcher also spent 23 years playing amateur baseball for Sioux Falls Sioux Nation Vet Supply , Sioux Falls Shop N Cart, Sioux Falls Bud Champs and Renner Old Milwaukee. Sioux Nation was the state runner-up in 1981 and Shop N Cart becamse the first Sioux Falls team to win a state title in 1989.

Payne was named the state tournament MVP in 1989 when he made pitching appearances on Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon and night on the final weekend of the state tourney. He played in more than 12 state tournaments.

He also played on the Sioux Falls Silver Bullets Over-30 team that played in the Men’s Senior Baseball World Series in Arizona in 1990, 1991 and 1993, winning the title in 1993. Payne was inducted into the O’Gorman Cathedral Hall of Fame in 2001.

Michael Clapp

Clapp was certainly a key player on Renner Monarchs’ teams that have enjoyed a dominant run through South Dakota Class A amateur baseball in since the turn of the century.

A strong-armed and excellent defensive third baseman, Clapp also played first base and the corner outfield positions and pitched, primarily as a closer, for the Monarchs. From 2001-2023, Renner won 13 state Class A titles including six in a row from 2014-19 and made 17 consecutive trips to the Class A championship.

Clapp, whose amateur career spanned 1998-2015 with the Monarchs (along with playing the 2020 season with the Renner Bullets), played on 10 state A championship teams and four runner-ups (14 title appearances in 15 years). He earned all-tourney honors 10 teams, won the Class A batting championship three times and also earned MVP honors twice.

Clapp batted .402 during his 19-year amateur career, hit four homers in a game and compiled a 23-2 pitching record.

Devin Alfson

The Winfred native went to school in Howard and played on a state championship Teener team and the state B runner-up American Legion Baseball team in 1993. He also played college baseball at Dakota State from 1994-1998 and 23 years of amateur baseball (1995-2017), two years with the Howard Red Sox and the final 21 with the Canova Gang.

A catcher, outfielder and first baseman, “Devo” is 10th all-time in South Dakota amateur baseball with 221 career home runs and third all-time in state tourney homers with 16. He batted .412 in his career, smacked 20 homers and eight consecutive hits in 2000 and 23 home runs in 2010. He clubbed four homers in a game in 2000 and again in 2002.

Alfson played in 20 state tournaments and six state championship games with Canova, finally winning a state title in 2009.

He is currently the head baseball coach at West Central High School in Hartford and has helped coached in his three sons Little League teams in Sioux Falls, including serving as a coach for the Sioux Falls All-Star team in 2021 that made it to the Little League World Series and was one of the final four teams remaining out of 16 teams.

Matt Stevenson

Stevenson’s credentials are Hall of Fame worthy either as a pitcher and hitter. His amateur baseball career has spanned more than 30 years (as of 2024) and has included a .400 career batting average, more than 100 pitching victories and more than 175 home runs.

An All-North Central Conference pitcher in 1996 for South Dakota State, Stevenson opened his amateur career in Bryant (1992-98), has served two stints with the Lake Norden Lakers (1999-2006 and 2016-2024) and another with the Castlewood Ravens (2007-2015). He has played in the state tourney ever year since 1990, counting being picked up as Legion player starting in 1990.

Stevenson pitched three games in a Class B district tourney in two days and also pitched and won two games and the same day in a Class A district tourney. He also drove in 10 runs in a game.
He has earned all-tourney honors in both Class A and Class B.

Brent Osborn

Osborn is one of who four brothers who started their baseball careers on the farm and sandlots near Redfield. Brent excelled for the Redfield Post 92 American Legion Baseball team and went on to play collegiately at Northern State University.

The Osborns and others formed the Redfield Dairy Queen team in the early 1990s and it went on to become a Class B powerhouse all the way into the early 2010s, winning 16 straight district titles and making many deep runs in the state tourney, winning state B titles in 2000 and 2006 and adding a runner-up finish in 2004.

The speedy outfielder set the tone at the top of the lineup, batting .379 in his career with an on-base percentage of .483. He tallied 1,099 hits, 1,165 runs, 227 doubles, 41 triples, 50 homers, 561 runs batted in, 581 walks and 406 stolen bases.

Brent’s brother Rich was inducted into the SDABA Hall of Fame in 2020. For much of the past decade, he has helped coach his four sons and others in high school, Teener and American Legion Baseball in Redfield. Those teams have made five state B high school and five state B American Legion tourneys (finishing second in 2019 and 2021). He also coached Redfield to a Class B Junior Legion title in 2021. He is still playing amateur baseball in 2024 with his sons with Redfield Dairy Queen.

Gene Bierle (Umpire)

The Sioux Falls native was an up-and-coming American Legion Baseball player before a boating accident ended his playing career before he graduated from high school in 1965. He later served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Eventually Bierle made his way back to the ballfield and spent 26 years (1995-2021) umpiring high school, American Legion, amateur and college baseball in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.
Bierle often umpired around 250 games per season and worked around a few thousand games during his career in blue.

He umpired two state Class A and one Class B American Legion tournaments, five state high school tourneys and 20 state amateur events.

Joe Van Goor (Honorary Umpire)

Van Goor has spent nearly 50 years as a radio announcer and his association with South Dakota amateur baseball goes back more than 30 years.

In 1993, Van Goor started broadcasting games on the radio for the South Central League and Vermillion Red Sox, doing regular season, district and state tournament games. He has also broadcasted high school baseball and softball games, American Legion and VFW Teener Baseball in South Dakota.
Van Goor starting doing public address for amateur baseball in 2013 with the Vermillion Grey Sox, and today does PA for Elk Point and Crofton (Neb.). 2024 marks the 11th year that he has served as the public address announcer for the entire South Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament with 35 games in 12 days.