The high school baseball success continues to roll in for Dell Rapids – Mitchell Republic

SIOUX FALLS — The Dell Rapids baseball program is in full swing.

Saturday marked the third time in four seasons that Dell Rapids claimed a Class B spring baseball state championship and its sixth high school title since 2017, including the Summer Legion titles.

Even head coach Danny Miller admitted after a 3-2 title win over Howard that it was starting to come together.

“In baseball, the Dells hadn’t won anything since 1969,” he said, then went through the latest titles. “We just tied it up and tried to be consistent with our message. We have high expectations. The biggest thing we’ve tried to change is having high expectations for the players and high expectations for the coaches. We want them to know that we’re going to be there for them as players and that they’re teammates are going to be there for each other.”

Those wins include the 2017, 2021, 2022 and 2024 high school championships along with the 2018 and 2023 Legion championships.

Since the start of the 2021 high school season, counting both high school spring play and the summer Legion season, Dell Rapids has finished four of those seven seasons as state champions with an overall record of 141-35. In three titles in four years, Dell Rapids went 86-13 during the spring season.

Since this time last season, when Dell Rapids bowed out of the Class B high school tournament in the semifinals, the Dells program has posted a 56-5 record.

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Dell Rapids celebrates winning the Class B high school baseball championship 3-2 over Howard on Saturday, June 1, 2024, at Ronken Field in Sioux Falls.

Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

Jack Henry, the state tournament MVP for his efforts at the plate and earned a pitching victory in the championship game, said it was a credit to Miller’s leadership as head coach and his stable of strong assistant coaches.

“He’s not afraid to tell us what we need to hear,” Henry said of Miller. “If there’s a bad patch in the game, he’s going to pick on us and demand everything we can because he knows what we’re capable of.”

As they have done in recent years, the Dell Rapids went to Oklahoma in March to get some early season games in before the weather cooperated in South Dakota. This season, they went 1-2 on that trip and lost to Marlow High School, which went on to win the Class 4A state title in 2024. Dell Rapids did not lose again this season.

Miller said he wants to be able to develop the pitching staff as much as possible. This proved important when starting pitcher Quinn Carr was injured late in the season. Talon Millage and Konrad Richeal finished sixth and seventh on the team in innings pitched, but both proved important in relief in Saturday’s semifinal and championship wins.

Just by the sheer number of games played, the Dell Rapids were in a class of their own. By season’s end, no other Class B team had played as many games as Dell Rapids, and only Tea Area, O’Gorman, Brandon Valley and Harrisburg joined Dell Rapids in playing 28 or more games during the spring.

“I wanted to collect a lot of games. We wanted a lot of guys to pitch,” Miller said. “We had guys like Talon and Konrad come in and get some big outings for us and they were ready because they were able to get a lot of innings during the season. I think it just helps the development of our pitchers and our whole team. Our defense got better because we got to play so many games.”

For the school year, Dell Rapids won its second straight state football title, reached the SoDak 16 in boys basketball, finished in the top-10 as a team in boys state track and won the baseball title.

“It’s a special class for seniors and it’s made up of a bunch of guys we call dudes. And they make special plays for us,” Miller said. “They were great in a bunch of different sports. We’d be lucky enough to have one or two of those guys and we’ve had them, probably more than we deserve, but it’s great and they’ve been great.”

Henry’s Dell Rapids High School baseball career is over – he is reporting to South Dakota State football as a freshman quarterback. He said he relished the moments playing with his friends and teammates for his hometown.

“I probably don’t fully realize it now, but in 20 years, it’s going to be a very special part of my life,” Henry said. “These guys are all my best friends and it was a great thing to share with them.”

Marcus Traxler

Marcus Traxler is assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. A past winner of the state’s Outstanding Young Journalist Award and the 2023 South Dakota Sportswriter of the Year, he has been with the paper since 2014 and covers a wide variety of topics. Traxler, a native of Minnesota, can be reached at [email protected].