Yankton's Layne Somsen
is congratulated at home plate during a home game earlier this season. (P&D File Photo)
Following a mild injury and a non-related surgery, Layne Somsen
had plans to just relax this summer.
Yet, the desire to play baseball was too strong, so back to the diamond he
And for the first-place Yankton Tappers (15-2), who lead Crofton by a game and a half in the South Central League
, Somsen's late-season presence has given the team a true ace-in-the-hole.
"I wasn't sure if I'd play at all this summer; things weren't looking too good for that," said Somsen
, who this spring finished his
freshman season on the South Dakota State University baseball team.
"My coach (Ritchie Price) really wasn't in favor of me throwing a ton of innings, but I was getting antsy being away."
As a first-year pitcher for the Division I Jackrabbits, Somsen pitched 66 innings with a 4-7 record and a 5.32 ERA.
Down the stretch, though, the Yankton native won four straight starts and hurled a complete game to lead SDSU into the Summit League championship game.
Following the season, Somsen traveled to Colorado to play for the Greeley Grays of the Mountain Collegiate Baseball League.
Teams in that wood bat league feature players from the NCAA and NAIA levels, as an opportunity to play top-level competition during the summer.
While in Colorado, Somsen
suffered the first of his
two physical setbacks.
During a bullpen session, the 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander felt a sharp pain in his
said there was a brief concern about a possible hernia, but the pain turned out to be a pulled muscle.
"I was really scared that it was something worse, but thankfully, I didn't," he
said this week.
Then, a few weeks later back in Yankton, came a non-related surgical procedure on his
sinuses, to get his
The latest setback caused Somsen
to miss another two weeks of baseball.
"My summer didn't start out very good," he
said Tuesday, with a chuckle.
"Basically, I've been resting most of the summer."
Finally ready to start playing baseball again, Somsen joined the Tappers for the first time on July 2 in Freeman.
And since that point, Yankton is a perfect 6-0 and has overtaken Crofton for first place in the always-tough SCL.
"Honestly, I knew absolutely nothing about this league," Somsen
first five games with the Tappers
spent time at shortstop and helped lead a youthful offense that averaged 14.6 runs per game during that stretch.
But on Monday of this week, the Tappers and manager Ron Heine sent Somsen to the mound to face Crofton for a home game at Riverside Field.
allowed one run on three hits in five innings of work with eight strikeouts against the Bluejays, who came in 13-2.
And for good measure, Somsen
cranked a three-run home run that proved to be the difference in a 3-2 Yankton win.
"I could definitely tell that I hadn't thrown off a month in like a month and a half," Somsen
said a day later.
Whether or not Somsen
pitches a handful of games in the postseason, he
anxious to win.
"We're a pretty positive team right now," he