Justin Cofell was named the Bob Shelden Award for Excellence Winner in 2023. The Bob Shelden Award for Excellence recognizes any player from 13U through Senior Legion who best exemplifies FOB’s values of being committed to their education, serving as good
Bob Shelden Field was renovated in 2021 to include a new turf infield, seating, dugouts, bullpens and entrance.
Bob Shelden Field last hosted the Class A senior legion tournament in 2015.
Brookings Friends of Baseball announced that graduated senior Justin Cofell was named recipient of the Bob Shelden Award for Excellence, the highest honor given to a student-athlete in the organization.
Cofell was a two-year starter for the Post 74 Senior Legion team that most recently finished second at the state tournament in Yankton.
The Bob Shelden Award for Excellence recognizes any player from 13U through Senior Legion who best exemplifies FOB’s values of being committed to their education, serving as good citizens and role models in the community, and recognizing that their participation in FOB is for the betterment of the program before themselves.
“Justin was an absolute competitor on the field, but more importantly he was a leader and tremendous teammate and role model to everyone in the organization,” Post 74 Senior Legion Head Coach Carter Roach said. “He did things the right way, and that is something many of our younger players in the organization would notice and watch.
“We would always get the best from Justin, whether that was being there to pick up a teammate or deliver a big hit when we needed it the most,” Roach added. “We are very excited about presenting this award to Justin and wish him all the best with his future endeavors.”
Cofell, whose primary position was first base, finished his career with a .359 batting average that included 88 hits, 55 RBIs, 25 doubles, two triples and two home runs. He was part of a Post 74 Senior Legion team that earned 59 wins during the past two seasons.
“I am very honored to receive this award and be recognized by Brookings Friends of Baseball,” Cofell said. “I was very fortunate to be around some amazing teammates and coaches who allowed us to have opportunities to experience success and create a culture where we were there for each other. I will always have fond memories of what we accomplished and how we were able to do that together.”
Cofell is the second Bob Shelden Award for Excellence winner, joining Payton Theodosopoulos, who was inaugural recipient in 2022. Other nominees for this year’s award included Jon Kahler (Post 74 Junior Legion), Nolan Wagner (16U) and Nolan Krogman (13U).
Oct. 4, 2023 — The American Legion of South Dakota voted last Sunday to award the 2024 South Dakota Senior Legion Class A State Tournament to American Legion Post 74 and Brookings Friends of Baseball.
The Brookings Post 74 Bandits will serve as the host team, and all games will be played at Bob Shelden Field, July 30-Aug. 3. It is the first time Brookings has hosted the tournament since 2015.
“We are very excited to bring the state senior legion tournament back to Brookings for the first time in almost a decade,” Post 74 Legion Commander Russ Mileham said. “This is a prestigious event that showcases the best legion baseball South Dakota has to offer, and having them play at Bob Shelden Field will be a tremendous honor. We will certainly work hard to host a first-class event and provide everyone a memorable experience.”
The Post 74 Bandits finished as runner-up in the 2023 state tournament held in Yankton. The team opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over Rapid City Post 22 before dropping a second-round game to Sioux Falls Post 15 East, 14-4. The Bandits rebounded with wins over Renner Post 307, 13-2; Harrisburg, 12-9; and Sioux Falls Post 15 East again, 4-3. The Bandits dropped the championship game of the double-elimination tournament to Harrisburg, 3-2.
The team finished the year with a 29-17 overall record. The second-place finish at the state tournament was the highest for Post 74 since winning the championship in 2012. The 2022 team entered that state tournament as the No. 1 seed for the first time ever before being eliminated in three games, finishing the year with a 31-13 overall record.
“We could not be more thrilled to host the 2024 state tournament and have the opportunity to compete on our own field,” senior legion head coach Carter Roach said. “This past year was a tremendous season for the program, and with many players returning from that team, our
expectations are to compete well throughout the entire year. Bob Shelden Field is a special place, and having the opportunity to play a state tournament there will be an amazing experience for everyone involved.”
Bob Shelden field was originally built in 1968 and hosts more than 150 games each year. The City of Brookings led a renovation project there in 2020 that resulted in nearly $3.2 million being invested in new dugouts, bullpens, lighting and a turf infield. The renovation was completed in April 2021.
The Wayne Hauschild Sportsmanship Award recognizes one member of each youth baseball team who displays sportsmanship, a positive attitude and a team-first mindset. It is considered the highest award a player can receive in Brookings Friends of Baseball’s youth programs, which include juniors (U7-U8), minors (U9-U10) and majors (U11-U12).
Mason Hegerfeld (Brookings Auto Mall)
Lincoln Damm (Porter’s Bait Farm)
Warner Carroll (Johnson Garage Door)
Gavin Zwiebahmer (Dakota Insurance)
Jaxton Steen (Brookings Dental Clinic)
Jaxon Jones (Robby’s Auto Shop)
Nolan LaSage (Brookings Dental Clinic)
William Myers (Embrace Dentistry)
Zach Scheff (Dakota Unmanned Aerial)
Kaden Ziegeldorf (BankStar Financial)
Branch Otteson (Heartland Vet Clinic)
Ty Koch (BrookDak Properties)
Grayson Berndt (Farmers Union Insurance)
Luke Koch (Adam Holtquist State Farm)
Ayden McKane (Robby’s Auto Shop)
Raymond Simmons (Brookings Family Dentistry)
Oliver Sand (Bisson Dental)
Hudson Johnson (Anderson Insurance)
Tyson Connot (Foerster Distributing)
Evan Krogman (605 Design)
Brenden Kuehl (First Bank & Trust)
Cody Olson (Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill)
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