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Winner/Colome looks to get past the team that knocked them out of the State Amateur Tourney in 2016

Winner/Colome ready for the rematch with Garretson
Aug 10, 2017

By Rich Winter

When the brackets were announced for the State Amateur baseball tournament, and despite the genetic makeup from everyone on the Winner/Colome team to not look ahead, there it was, almost jumping off the page, a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal between Winner/Colome and Garretson.


Last season, Garretson upended W/C, 5-4 before Garretson marched on to the state championship game where they lost to Alexandria. You can bet with everyone in that Winner/Colome caravan today that EVERYONE is thinking about that game from one year ago.


“We kinda feel we let that one slip away on us,” W/C Manager Kevin Graesser. “Right away we saw them potentially in the third round, they are a great team but we are very capable of beating them.”


While W/C might be playing their best ball of the season they come into tonight’s contest sporting a pair of injuries that could factor in tonight’s game. Jared Donahue tweaked a groin in the win over Vermillion and Austin Calhoon tweaked a hamstring. Donahue is scheduled to pitch tonight, but as Graesser puts it, we’ll just have to get up there and see how he’s feeling.


With W/C playing the opening game of the tourney and the opening game of the second round, rest may actually play in their favor.



“I think having a few days off is in our favor,” Graesser said. “When you play in the later rounds those games come quick but right now we feel pretty good and everyone else is capable of throwing if Donahue can’t go.”


It has been a terrific run for W/C late in the season, partially in fact because Graesser finally has a full compliment of players at his disposal.


“During the year these guys are busy. If you have everybody at every game, maybe 1/3 of the time you aren’t at full strength,” Graesser said. “Defensively we’ve been very strong the last five games with no errors or maybe one error. Any of these teams that make it to state can put the ball in play and there is a lot of room out there so we’ll have to be sharp on defense.”


While a lot of teams in the State amateur tournament enjoy the relaxed yet competitive aspect of baseball, you can expect that W/C is going to be all business when they take the field at 5:30 p.m. in a game that will be webcast at www.liveticket.tv


“This is pretty important to us and you could ask everyone of these guys they are all competitive, they are all good athletes and now at this age this is a sport they can continue to play,” Graesser said. “We take it seriously, still want to have fun doing it and that is the main reason they are doing it. This State Amateur tournament is baseball in South Dakota as good as it gets.”


Clearly coach Graesser loves this sport that has been such a big part of he and his families life. He and son Derek, tonight’s starting shortstop, first started playing when Derek was five.


“We’ve kinda grown up together doing it and it’s been a lot of fun,” Graesser said.


After winning a state legion title with W/C in 2006 coach Graesser, and others helped get amateur baseball in Winner going about nine years ago. Since then it has been nine straight trips to the state tournament.



“Right now I think Derek is the oldest one that is originally from that first year,” Graesser said. “We’ve continued to add guys like Terrell Bauld and Dillon Lamley (forvige me if the spelling isn’t right) from Burke and we added Jared Donahue from the Sunshine League. They can come play and the guys still like to play and I’m still enjoying coaching.”


Big shout out to Graesser who took the time to visit with the Panic Button while sitting in the vehicle getting ready to go to Winner.


Of note here, the number of people watching the state amateur broadcasts on www.liveticket.tv and winnerwarriorslive.com have been through the roof this year, almost double what they were a year ago with 5-6 thousand people watching every night.


Anyone wanna see W/C get some revenge against Garretson…tune in it’s going to be a barn burner. 

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