Top Performer: Rapid City Sliders
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Sliders recently returned home from competing on a national stage. But their journey actually started back in June.
After weeks of practicing and playing in tournaments, the Sliders hosted the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament.
Not only did they capture the region title with a come-from-behind win over Albany, Minnesota, but they punched a ticket to the Babe Ruth World Series for the second year in a row.
“It was really fun going back to the national national level,” said Center Fielder Luke Hanzlik. “In Iowa it was a little rough road just starting it off. But coming back the second time, we saw some teams we had saw there last year. We had a little bit of friendship.”
“It was different,” said Outfielder Teagen Smith “Normally, we’re just used to this local competition. It was awesome to see new competition across the whole coast.”
After finishing 2-2 in pool play, the Sliders advanced to bracket play where they upset Greater Lynn, Massachusetts, 10-0.
“Yeah that was a lot of fun,” said Pitcher Jackson Dial. “Coming out of the gates in bracket play just 10-running a team, it’s fun for everybody on the team.”
“They came into the game thinking they were going to destroy us,” said Third Baseman Ian Beer. “We showed them that they had to actually fight for it and we ended out on top.”
Rapid City then battled Pitt County in the semi-finals. But the team from North Carolina proved to be too much, shutting out the Sliders 8-0.
“We saw a lot harder pitching than we normally see,” Catcher Brody Thompson said. “Last year, we kind of got steamrolled. This year, we came back better. The competition was better. But on top of that, we also played better.”
“We had a goal of winning a game because last year, we didn’t do so good,” said Second Baseman William Waddell. “But this year, we placed top four with third place and did better than last year.”
While there were several outstanding individual performances, it was truly a total team effort.
“Couldn’t do it without all of us,” said Left Fielder Ethan Wilson. “I mean, we all contributed in regionals and in the World Series to make top four in the nation.”
Although the Sliders fell short of bringing home a World Series title, they left Virginia with a week’s worth of memories that will last a lifetime.
“We went to a Fredericksburg National game and met a lot of new people there,” said First Baseman Mason Brooks. “Everybody was kind of nervous when they first got there. Then all the teams bonded and we felt close after that.”
“I went to the ocean for the first time,” said Shortstop Blake Olmsted. “I’ve never been that close to the ocean. So it was a fun experience.”
Congratulations to the Rapid City Sliders on being named NewsCenter1 Top Performers.
Full Rapid City Sliders roster:
- #2 Blake Olmsted
- #14 Brody Thompson
- #12 Colten Morlang
- #3 Ethan Wilson
- #7 Ian Beer
- #9 Jackson Dial
- #13 Luke Hanzlik
- #10 Mason Brooks
- #15 Nolan Williamson
- #5 Will Waddell
- #11 Teagen Smith