Red Sox edge Dimock�Emery at state B tournament by Steven Thum The Vermillion Red Sox have been living on the edge throughout the 1999 season. Time after time this year they have had to rally in the late innings to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. They needed another patented rally to beat the Dimock�Emery Raptors 7-5 in 11 innings in the quarterfinals of the State B Amateur Baseball Tournament in Mitchell Aug. 18.
Vermillion got on the board right away when the first Red Sox batter, Dustin Moore, reached on an error. Moore stole second, then third. With one out, Jason Huska reached on another error to put runners at the corners. Steve Fejfar drew a walk from Raptors starting hurler Jim Sudbeck to load the bases. Mitch Stewart hit a fly ball to right field which was caught by Kevin Nowotny. Moore scored on the sacrifice fly and the other runners advanced on a poor throw home by Nowotny, the third error of the inning for Dimock-Emery. But Sudbeck retired Jim Stegge on a ground out to retire the side and limit the damage to just one unearned run scored.
Billy Welcher, the Red Sox starting pitcher, held the Raptors scoreless for the first two innings. The third inning saw things come apart for Vermillion. Welcher walked leadoff batter Ron DeGeest. Steve Ernster reached on an error by shortstop Huska. Doug Sudbeck tried to bunt the runners over, but Welcher made a great play fielding the bunt and got the lead runner out at third base. Nowotny came up and singled to bring home Ernster. Kenny Kayser followed with a base hit to score Doug Sudbeck. Shawn Sudbeck added another single to plate Nowotny. The fourth single in a row by Tom Sudbeck saw Kayser trot home to make it 4-1. None of the singles were hard hit balls, but each managed to find a hole. Welcher was on the ropes, but he induced Bill Sudbeck into grounding into a 6-4-3 double play and the side was retired.
The Raptors tacked on one more run in the fourth when a ground out by Nowotny scored Ron DeGeest, who had reached on a leadoff single. Dimock-Emery now led 5-1.
Vermillion managed to cut into the lead in the top of the fifth as Moore led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jim Sudbeck retired the next two batters, but a two-out single by Steve Fejfar scored Moore and the lead had been cut to 5-2.
Jim Sudbeck held the Red Sox scoreless in the sixth and seventh frames, but Stewart led off in the eighth with a double. Eric Giblin, a pickup player from Mount Vernon, came in to pitch. He got Stegge to ground out, but Stewart advanced on the play. Giblin uncorked a wild pitch and Stewart scored easily to make it 5-3.
Jon Merrigan kept the rally going by reaching on an error. Younger brother Jay Merrigan, a Legion player, came in as pitch runner. Jay Merrigan stole second and went to third on a wild throw by catcher Tom Sudbeck. Colby Lessman singled to bring home Jay Merrigan and the score was now 5-4.
Rudy Ramos came on to pitch in the eighth for the Red Sox and he fanned side to keep the deficit at just one run.
In the ninth Giblin retired the first batter, but the Raptors� defense failed them again as Huska reached on an error. back-to-back walks to Fejfar and Stewart loaded the bases. Bill Sudbeck came on to relieve Giblin. Jim Stegge managed to hit a soft grounder towards first. Mike Sudbeck fielded the ball cleanly, but had to dive to first in order to beat Stegge to the bag. Stegge was out, but Huska scored on the play to tie the game at five. With runners at second and third, Bill Sudbeck fanned Jay Merrigan to end the threat. But the game was now tied and for the first time in the 1999 State B Tournament, there would be extra innings.
Both teams went into the extra frames with their best pitchers on the mound. After a scoreless tenth, Vermillion started to make things happen in the eleventh.
Again, the Raptors� defense would let them down. With one out, Huska reached base on an error when second baseman Giblin and rightfielder Nowotny could not communicate on a pop fly and the two bumped into each other, causing Nowotny to drop the ball. Bill Sudbeck struck out Fejfar for the second out. Up next was Stewart, who had hit several game-winning homers in the regular season. Stewart took a mighty cut at an outside fastball from Bill Sudbeck and launched it over the right field wall for a two-run homer. It was his 17th homer of the season and it gave Vermillion a 7-5 lead.
The Raptors would not go quietly. A single and a walk put runners on first and second with nobody out. Nowotny hit a ground ball to the pitcher Ramos. The hard-throwing righthander wheeled and threw to third base to get the lead runner retired for the first out. Ramos then fanned the next two batters to end the ball game.
As he had done a number of times this year, Stewart hit a game-winning home run for the Red Sox. He also singled, doubled, scored two runs and had three RBIs. Huska singled, reached base three times on errors and scored two runs. Moore singled and scored twice.
Welcher pitched seven innings in his starting role for the Red Sox and did not figure in the decision. He gave up seven hits, five runs, three of them earned, four walks and struck out two. Ramos pitched four innings in relief to get the win. Ramos allowed just two hits, one walk and struck out seven. Vermillion pitching allowed just two hits and no runs after the fourth inning.
Shawn Sudbeck collected two hits to lead the Raptors� offense.
Jim Sudbeck threw seven innings for the Raptors, fanning two and walking just one. He surrendered just seven hits and three runs, two of them earned. Giblin pitched an inning and a third, giving up two runs on two hits. Bill Sudbeck threw 2 2/3 innings on relief and was tagged with the loss. He gave up just one hit, the home run by Stewart. He fanned three and didn�t walk a batter.
Vermillion left 11 men on base, as did Dimock-Emery. The Red Sox committed three errors, while the Raptors had a whopping nine miscues.
�We dealt real well with the pressure,� said Vermillion Manager Kirk Sorenson. �The defense wasn�t there in the fourth inning and it almost cost us, but we came through in the end.�
�I started out pitching really well,� said Ramos, the winning pitcher. �I slid a little bit in the middle, but I ended the game well.�
�We�re a pretty resilient team,� said Stewart. �All throughout the year, someone has stepped up and come through for us at the right time. We�ve got a lot of heart. We�re not afraid to come back and beat teams.�
With the win, Vermillion is now 26-12 on the season and they advance to the semifinals and a matchup against Wynot, NE.
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Billy Welcher, Rudy Ramos (8) and Colby Lessman.
Jim Sudbeck, Eric Giblin (8), Bill Sudbeck (9) and Tom Sudbeck.