Sox beat defending champions by Steven Thum The Vermillion Red Sox avenged last year�s season-ending loss at the hands of the Wynot Expos by beating the defending State B Champs 10-2 in the second round of the 2000 State B Amateur Baseball Tournament Saturday night, Aug. 12 at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
Wynot beat Vermillion in last year�s state tournament, as Jay Heimes out-dueled Josh Merrigan on the mound. Wynot went on to win the tournament, with Heimes garnering MVP honors.
This year�s matchup featured the same two starting pitchers, but the results would be far different this year.
Wynot did gain the early advantage as Lee Heimes led off the game by drawing a walk. Heimes stole second, then advanced to third on a groundout. With two outs, Merrigan uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Heimes to score. Wynot managed to score without getting a hit.
The Expos scored again in the top of the second as Cory Foxhoven led off with a single. Steve Wieseler laid down a bunt that advanced Foxhoven to second. Merrigan would strike out Todd Rauch for the second out, but Todd Pinkelman would deliver a clutch two-out single to bring home Foxhoven, and Wynot led 2-0.
Vermillion cut into the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Steve Fejfar led off by drawing a walk, and Nick Mayer came on as the courtesy runner for the Red Sox catcher. Jay Heimes tried to pick Mayer off first, but he threw the ball away. Mayer raced toward second, and was going to try for third, but he stumbled as he rounded second, and had to hold there.
Jon Merrigan drew a one out walk and Mitch Stewart singled to load the bases. Devon Schwiesow hit a hard grounder back to Jay Heimes, who threw home for the force out. Wynot catcher Scott Heiner tried to throw to first for the third out, but his throw hit Schwiesow in the back. The error allowed Jon Merrigan to score, and the Wynot lead was now 2-1.
Vermillion took control of the game in the third inning. Josh Merrigan shut down the Expos in order in the top of the frame, while the Red Sox offense exploded in the bottom of the inning.
With one out, Jim McNaughton�s single opened the floodgates. Jason Huska followed with a single, as did Fejfar, which brought home McNaughton with the tying run. Mayer once again came on as the courtesy runner for Fejfar. Chris Belding smashed a double to left center which brought home Huska and Mayer. Jon Merrigan delivered a single which plated Belding. Heimes retired the next two batters to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Vermillion led 5-2.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Red Sox struck again. Belding singled with one out. Heimes fanned Jon Merrigan for the second out, but Stewart blasted a home run to make the score 7-2.
Meanwhile, Josh Merrigan was cruising on the hill for the Red Sox. The southpaw did get into a jam in the seventh, but managed to pitch his way out of trouble without allowing a run to score.
Vermillion added to its lead in the bottom of the seventh as Fejfar blasted a long drive to the deepest part of Cadwell Park, dead centerfield. The ball did not go out of the park, but Fejfar would reach third with his first triple of the year. Mayer came on to run again for Fejfar, and would score on Jon Merrigan�s one-out sacrifice fly. Vermillion led 8-2, and it appeared they would score again. Stewart singled with two outs and the bases empty. Schwiesow hit a long drive which fell in for extra bases, but Stewart pulled a hamstring muscle rounding the bases. The Red Sox designated hitter tried to limp to third base, but he was tagged out to end the inning. Stewart had to be helped off the field by his teammates.
Josh Merrigan blanked the Expos in the eighth inning, and the hopes for a back-to-back championship for Wynot were fading fast.
The Red Sox got two more runs in the bottom of the eighth as Dusty Moore led off by reaching base on a Wynot error. McNaughton hit a ground ball, and Moore was tagged out trying to advance from second to third. Huska would single, and Fejfar followed with a double which brought home both McNaughton and Huska. Vermillion enjoyed a 10-2 lead with just one inning to go.
Josh Merrigan allowed a walk and a single in the final frame to put two runners on, but he fanned pinch hitter Brian Van Driel to end the contest.
Both pitchers went the distance. Josh Merrigan scattered seven hits, struck out 10 and walked just two. Jay Heimes surrendered 17 hits, issued two walks, and fanned five.
Fejfar led the Red Sox offense by hitting a single, doubled and triple, plus he drove in three runs. Stewart homered and singled twice before leaving the game with an injury. Huska singled twice and scored two runs. McNaughton singled three times and scored two runs. Belding singled and doubled, scored twice, and had two RBIs. Jon Merrigan singled, drove in two runs, and scored once. Schwiesow singled and doubled.
Foxhoven and Pinkelman both singled twice for Wynot.
Both teams turned one doubleplay and left seven runners on base. But Wynot committed five errors, compared to just one for the Red Sox.