Pukwana’s Dakota Munger excels at both golf and baseball

Aug. 8—MITCHELL — Dakota Munger has his two swings down.

At the plate, there’s the baseball swing, which made him a factor during the spring high school season, the summer American Legion season and got him picked up for this week’s Class B state amateur baseball tournament.

And then there’s the golf swing, which has had Munger consistently scoring in the 70s this summer and building toward another run at a state high school golf championship for the rising senior at Chamberlain High School.

“There’s actually more similarities there than you’d think,” said Munger, who hails from Pukwana. “I definitely get more practice in golf, whereas baseball is mostly game opportunities. You have to trust yourself up at the plate and that you’re good enough to make plays.”

Between the golf meets and the baseball games, Munger has plenty of repetitions doing both sports this summer. Normally playing amateur baseball for the Chamberlain Mallards, Munger was picked up by Kimball/White Lake for the tournament, one of the few Legion-level players to be selected to a different team for the state tournament. He’ll be a part of the Nationals’ roster again in the second round on Wednesday night against Dimock/Emery in Mitchell.

“He’s an incredible athlete,” said KWL manager Wes Kroupa. “He hit the pitching in our league all of the time, and you can tell he absolutely belongs at the amateur level. He has a bright future ahead of him.”

In 11 games for the Mallards, Munger was the team’s top hitter by a wide margin, hitting .587 and boasting a .627 on-base percentage during the season with 27 hits, two home runs, 17 RBIs and 12 runs scored. It was his second time being picked up for the amateur tournament, as he was a selection for the Plankinton Bankers in 2022.

“It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of nerves too. But it’s really just another chance to shine out here,” Munger said of the amateur tournament.

He hit .606 during the spring baseball season for Chamberlain/Kimball/Lyman, with an on-base percentage of .698. Chamberlain doesn’t have a Legion team of its own, so Munger played with Platte/Geddes during the summer, which reached the state tournament.

In the summer SDGA Junior Tour events, Munger had three top-10 finishes, including a winning effort on June 19 in Mitchell. He was also third in a Sanford Series event in July in Rapid City, including at Hart Ranch Golf Course, the site of this fall’s Class A high school state meet on Oct. 2-3.

“It’s a lot. For most of the summer, it was a golf tournament or a baseball game basically every day,” Munger said. “You try to excel in both sports and keep it all straight, but it’s been fun.”

Once baseball season ends, Munger will turn his efforts fully toward the high school golf season and his senior year. Munger finished tied for second place last year in Class A, with the goal this year to take first. He said he’s pretty much at the golf course every day since April and got swings in over the winter at the Sanford Sports Golf Academy in Sioux Falls. He credits his improvement in driving accuracy as his biggest advancement on the course.

“If we don’t have a game, I’m out there every day. … With the summer, there are competitions but there’s not really a lot on the line,” Munger said. “I’m just trying to learn and get better and work through different situations. I just want to get my game ready for the high school season and really peak there. … It’s my senior year, and I’ve been really close the last three years, and I really want to get that accomplished this year.”

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