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South Dakota softball community hopes sport continues fast growth

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South Dakota softball community hopes sport continues fast growth


MITCHELL — Weekday nights at the Cadwell Sports Complex can get hectic during the spring and summer.

Between adult leagues, and baseball and softball practices or games at the youth levels, the 13 diamonds are all put to use, and people of all ages are scurrying about, bats on shoulders, gloves in hand.

This year, it’s been busier than ever, largely due to the growth of fast-pitch softball in Mitchell.

“Last year, there weren’t fields that were being used every day,” said Alyson Palmer, founder of the Storm softball club. “So we were like ‘oh, okay, well, if we need to have extra practice, we can go here.’

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“This year, every field and every time slot was taken up when we had the field meeting.”

The growth of the sport comes at an ideal time, as softball became an SDHSAA sanctioned sport in 2023. Since then, 59 schools in the state have fielded a team.

Hanson’s Karlie Goergen fist-bumps her teammates before a Class B state playoff game in May 2023.

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Augustana head softball coach Gretta Melsted is a stalwart of the sport in South Dakota, having been the Vikings’ coach for 18 years, guiding the team to 11 Division II NCAA Tournaments and winning the 2019 national championship.

She’s heavily recruited the state, and has relationships with all the prominent club coaches. In fact, her assistant coach, Kelsey Thompson, runs the South Dakota Renegades softball club in Sioux Falls — one of the top clubs in the state.

While Melsted believes the addition of sanctioned softball is good for the state, she isn’t sure if its impact on the sport’s overall popularity is quantifiable yet.

“I still think it’s a little too early to tell,” Melsted said. “Because it’s only been one year. But you will see that growth and you will see that excitement for the sport now that high schools are giving young girls that opportunity. And it’s only going to make softball better in this state. We have a lot of good club teams. And that’s been what’s carried us so far. But adding high school softball makes it much more legitimate in the state.”

What is quantifiable is the number of schools playing softball. In the first year of sanctioned softball in 2023, there were 47 schools participating. That number grew by 12 schools in 2024.

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Sanctioned softball has also dispelled an early concern that schools would fail to collaborate with club teams, resulting in the state’s top talent not playing for the school teams during the spring.

“From people that I’ve talked to, they said (the transition) has been pretty seamless,” Mitchell softball coach Kent Van Overschelde said. “A large majority of the girls have jumped on board with their high school teams, and I think that’s evident, especially with the top teams in the program.”

And at least one college coach in the state is in support of kids playing for their school teams in the spring.

“I love seeing kids play for their high school on top of playing club ball because there’s just something special about being able to represent the school that you go to,” Melsted said.

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Yankton softball.jpg

The Yankton softball team celebrates a home run during a state playoff game in May 2023 at Northern Staet in Aberdeen.

Jon Klemme / SDPB

Rise of the youth leagues

Van Overschelde estimated just 40 percent of the girls on the Kernels’ softball team grew up playing the sport consistently, many from the league that’s run by parks and recreation.

But with the development of more youth clubs in the area, that number may grow in the coming years.

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Three years ago, Palmer realized it was difficult for many families to get their kids to the city’s youth softball summer league run by the rec center, because practices were early in the morning.

So she got together with some other parents and formed a private league that would hold practices in the evening. It was immediately popular.

“Our first year we got a hold of a few parents and we thought we’d have like 30 sign up. We had 62 sign up,” Palmer said.

This season, in year three, there are 82 girls in the club, with teams in the under-4 to under-12 divisions.

Last year, some of the older girls scrimmaged the other youth softball team in town, the Sparklers, as well as teams from Letcher, Mount Vernon and Alexandria.

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However, the Storm’s main focus isn’t to bounce around from city to city playing games, but instead to become a local entity that teaches girls the fundamentals of the sport and becomes a permanent league.

“I think it’s grown a lot and we’re trying to keep it to not be such a traveling league,” Palmer said. “Our goal is to get enough girls that we can actually have a Mitchell league, like you’re going to have four to six U10 teams and have games every week.”

As a teacher at Mitchell, Palmer knows several of the girls on the Kernels’ varsity team, and is working to connect them with the younger players. These are the types of connectiions that could further bolster the high school team down the line. Several of the players have agreed to come help at practices this summer.

The next step would be building a softball training facility in Mitchell. As things stand, there aren’t any notable in-state facilities outside of Sioux Falls or Rapid City. At least one of Mitchell’s top players, Macey Linke, travels to Tea to train at The Playground, an indoor softball facility run by Tea Area coach Emmie Uitts.

According to Melsted, those types of facilities come after communities build a strong base of youth players.

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“I think what you’ll see is the more that kids play softball, the more you’re going to see that happen,” she said.





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Cedar County, Neb. authorities searching for missing Yankton, S.D. man around Missouri National Recreational River

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Cedar County, Neb. authorities searching for missing Yankton, S.D. man around Missouri National Recreational River


CEDAR COUNTY, Neb. (KTIV) – Authorities in Cedar County, Nebraska are asking for the public’s help in locating a Yankton, South Dakota man believed to be missing around the Missouri National Recreational River.

The Cedar County Sheriff’s Office in Nebraska and the National Parks Service are looking for 23-year-old Phillip Anthony Snoozy of Yankton, South Dakota. He was reported missing on Friday, May 24th.

Phillip Snoozy is 6′0” tall, 190 lbs. with blue eyes and brown hair. According to park officials, campers reported Snoozy missing after his personal belongings were found on the riverbank. Snoozy was last seen swimming alone in the Missouri River between 4:40 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., under the Meridian Bridge, along the Nebraska shoreline.

Snoozy’s disappearance is currently under investigation by Cedar County Sheriff’s Department and the National Park Service.

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If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Snoozy, contact the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office at (402) 254-6884 or the National Parks Service Dispatch at (605) 574-3120.



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Minnesota, South Dakota Family Sickened with Worms From Bear Meat

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Minnesota, South Dakota Family Sickened with Worms From Bear Meat


Family members of families from Minnesota and South Dakota got brain worms from eating bear meat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report reveals that nine family members from Minnesota, South Dakota, and Arizona contracted a parasitic infection after consuming undercooked bear meat kebabs during a family gathering in South Dakota.

Minnesota, South Dakota Family Infected with Worms From Bear Meat-Canva

Minnesota, South Dakota Family Infected with Worms From Bear Meat-Canva

The bear meat was harvested in northern Saskatchewan by one of the family members and stored in a freezer for over a month before being prepared.

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Although instructed by a hunting outfitter to freeze the meat to kill parasites, the larvae and worms present were freeze-resistant.

During the gathering, the bear meat was grilled alongside vegetables but accidentally served undercooked.

Minnesota, South Dakota Family Infected with Worms From Bear Meat-Canva

Minnesota, South Dakota Family Infected with Worms From Bear Meat-Canva

After initial consumption, the meat was recooked and served again. Even family members who claimed to have only eaten vegetables were affected, suggesting cross-contamination.

Doctors diagnosed them with Trichinellosis, a roundworm infection caused by consuming raw or undercooked meat contaminated with the parasite Trichinella.

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Trichinellosis Minnesota, South Dakota Family Infected with Worms From Bear Meat-Canva

Trichinellosis Minnesota, South Dakota Family Infected with Worms From Bear Meat-Canva

Family members ranging in age from 12 to 62 years old were ultimately diagnosed with the worms.

Three required hospitalization and treatment with the anti-parasitic medication albendazole. Six individuals experienced symptoms, but all recovered, according to health officials.

Tests conducted on the leftover bear meat confirmed the presence of Trichinella larvae.

According to the Mayo Clinic once inside the human body, the larvae can migrate to muscle tissue and organs like the brain, heart, lungs, and spinal cord.

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Report: South Dakota has highest number of veteran-owned wholesale businesses in US

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Report: South Dakota has highest number of veteran-owned wholesale businesses in US


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – A recent study broke down the concentration of veteran-owned businesses in each US state, revealing South Dakota is a leader in supporting local veterans.

Ahead of Memorial Day on Monday, veteran experts from AmFi analyzed the total number of businesses in each state alongside those owned by veterans to learn how veteran business owners are represented in each state.

South Dakota ranks 10th in the United States with 6.5% of businesses in the state estimated to be veteran-owned. In total, there are 1,442 estimated veteran-owned businesses in South Dakota.

West Virginia ranks 1st with 10.84% of businesses being veteran-owned.

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The study also revealed the leading industries in each state with the highest number of veteran-owned businesses.

South Dakota has the highest number of veteran-owned wholesale businesses in US(American Fidelity Life Insurance)

South Dakota’s largest industry for veteran-owned businesses is wholesale trade, with 13.6% of wholesale trade business owners being veterans in South Dakota, the highest rate nationwide.

Minnesota and North Dakota’s largest veteran-owned industries are construction with 6.43% and 7.32% respectively. Iowa’s largest veteran-owned industry is finance and insurance with 6.74%.

The full study can be found here.

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