Connect with us
Dacotah Bank


West Central caps undefeated journey to State A championship

West Central players gather to celebrate the final out on the mound as Tea Area’s Kaydance Horsley, far left, exits the field at the conclusion of Saturday’s Class A championship game at the SDHSAA State Softball Tournament at Players Field South. Photo by John Davis taken 6/3/2023

Twenty-two games into the softball season, West Central still has not tasted defeat and now it never will.

The Trojans claimed a 4-0 defensive victory over Tea Area Saturday evening in the inaugural Class A state championship softball game at Players Softball Complex, capping the lone undefeated season in any class in the state.

“It’s amazing,” said junior Caitlyn Hoff, who pitched a complete-game shutout and went 2-for-3 from the plate in the win. “There’s no more target on our back. We’re done until next year.”

Hoff, who threw a total of 143 pitches over the past two days, said the needle on her tank fluctuated from pitch-to-pitch in that championship effort. But with two on, two outs and the tying run standing in the on-deck circle, Hoff reached deep enough to induce Tea Area’s Kalli Boom into a line-drive – straight back to Hoff.

Hoff caught the ball, then slammed it to the ground in celebration.

“I think that was the perfect way to end it,” Hoff said. “Dogpile on the mound. All that stuff. … I knew we did it. I knew it was done, it was over and I knew all the work this team put in came to a close right then. It was the best way it could have ended, honestly.”

The play marked the conclusion of a largely defensive battle between two teams that were offensive juggernauts the past two days.

“We told (the team) before the game, whatever happened the rest of the weekend didn’t matter,” said West Central coach Heather Harden. “It was (Saturday) that mattered. We were going to go one hit at a time, one pitch at a time, one defensive play at a time. And that’s what the girls did.”

West Central’s Jocelyn Nilson, center, holds up the ball as teammate Emillee Stofferahn, right, celebrates after Nilson tagged out Tea Area’s Kalli Boom, left, during Saturday’s Class A championship game at the SDHSAA State Softball Tournament at Players Field South. Photo by John Davis taken 6/3/2023

The Trojans didn’t completely abandon their bats, however. Leading 2-0 through five innings, junior Emily Stofferahn cranked a two-run homer in the top of the sixth to give her team a bit of extra breathing space. 

Jocelyn Nilson also drove in a run with double down the line in the fourth inning. 

“If I had a bad (at-bat) or someone else, we would come in the dugout and said, ‘We can do it,’” Nilson said. “It just feels surreal because this is the first sanctioned softball win. I wouldn’t want to end it any other way.”

Earlier in the day, Dell Rapids built a five-run lead and then held on for a 7-5 win over Dakota Valley in the third place contest.

Claire Wynja went 4-for-4 for the Quarriers, including a double and a triple, while Rileigh Foster homered, and also had an RBI single. Lexi Ingalls also drove in a run with a triple. Dakota Valley made things interesting with three runs in the seventh, two coming in on a single by Emma Wiese.

Madison blanked Elk Point-Jefferson 11-0 in the fifth place game. Amanda Vacanti got the win for Madison, striking out five. She also drove in run. The Bulldogs took control with five runs in the top of the first inning.

Beresford scored eight late runs to erase a deficit and upend Lennox 10-5 in the seventh place contest.

Keely Merrigan and Ivy Keiser had three hits apiece for Beresford. Merrigan cranked out a double and a triple in her four trips to the plate. Keiser drove in a run in a four-run fifth inning, while Halle Livingston plated a pair with a single in a four-run sixth inning.

Makinleigh Wallenstein had three hits to pace Lennox.

The Class A All-Tournament team included Izzi Parsons and Hanna Raethz of West Central, Skyler Haines and Addisyn Hanson of Tea Area, Claire Wynja and Rileigh Foster of Dell Rapids, Emma Wiese and Brennan Trotter of Dakota Valley, Amanda Vacanti of Madison, Josie Curry of Elk Point-Jefferson, Brenna Dann of Beresford, and Makinleigh Wallenstein of Lennox.


West Central 0-0 102 0 – 4 8 2

Tea Area 000 000 0 – 0 4 0

Caitlyn Hoff and Hanna Raethz. Addisyn Hansen and Kalli Boom. 2B – West Central, Hoff and Jocelyn Nilson. 3B – West Central, Nilson. HR – West Central, Emillee Stofferahn.

Third Place

Dakota Valley 000 020 3 – 5 10 2

Dell Rapids 012 202 x – 7 11 1

Emma Wiese and Mia Riibe. Katie Kvinge and Rileigh Foster. 2B – Dakota Valley, Ashlynn Stusse, Wiese, Logan Miller; Dell Rapids, Claire Wynja. 3B – Dell Rapids, Lexi Ingalls, Wynja, Liz Price. HR – Dell Rapids, Foster.

Fifth Place

Madison 502 04 – 11 5 0

Elk Point-Jefferson 000 00 – 0 0 2

Amanda Vacanti and Evie Lurz. Danica Torrez, Regan Rasmussen and Hannah Nearman.

Seventh Place

Lennox 201 002 0 – 5 10 6

Beresford 002 044 x – 10 11 6

Mackenleigh Wallenstein and Macy Wallenstein; Keely Merrigan, Brenna Dann (6) and Ivy Keiser. 2B – Lennox, Aleeah Oltmanns, Mack. Wallenstein; Beresford, Keiser, Merrigan. 3B – Beresford, Merrigan, Lily Seivert.

Purchase a Photo

Browse By Category

Browse By Month

More in Softball

Dacotah Bank