Vermillion Red Sox silence Cannons but lose to Lake Norden

Vermillion Red Sox silence Cannons but lose to Lake Norden by Steven Thum The Vermillion Red Sox continued to advance in the State B Amateur Baseball Tournament by beating the Kennebec-Chamberlain Cannons 7-2 Tuesday night, Aug. 15, at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.

Vermillion jumped out to an early lead, and for the first time in the tournament, got on the scoreboard first.

After a scoreless first inning, Vermillion got a one-out rally going in the bottom of the second as Chris Belding singled, then moved to third on a single by Jon Merrigan. Kelly Heller blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Red Sox a 3-0 advantage.

Vermillion would strike again in the bottom of the third. Jason Huska led off with a double, and came home on a triple by Steve Fejfar, his second triple in state tournament play this year. Dave Holoch came on as the courtesy runner for the Red Sox catcher, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Belding. Vermillion led 5-0.

Meanwhile, Red Sox starting pitcher Billy Welcher was in control, shutting out the Cannons through the first five innings.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox would strike again as for the second time in the game, Huska doubled to start an inning. Fejfar laced a single that moved Huska to third. Holoch came on again as the courtesy runner for Fejfar. Jon Merrigan hit a ground ball to first. Cannons� first baseman Brandon Chilson fired to second for the force out of Holoch, but the return throw from shortstop Todd Priebe for a possible doubleplay went wild, and not only was Jon Merrigan safe at first, but Huska scored on the play to make it 6-0. Cannons� starter Bryan Rinehart managed to get out of the inning without any more damage being done, but Vermillion had a big lead after five full innings of play.

The Cannons finally got to Welcher in the top of the sixth as Chris Long led off with a single, and moved to third on a double by Ted Lepkowski. With two runners in scoring position, and nobody out, the Cannons appeared to be on the verge of a big inning. But Welcher got Priebe to hit a fly ball, which scored Long from third. Lepkowski was stranded on third as Welcher got Rinehart to ground out, third to first, and then retired Chilson on a line drive to shortstop Huska. Vermillion now led 6-1.

After a scoreless seventh, the Cannons would touch Welcher for another run in the eighth on a solo homer by Lepkowski. The next batter, Priebe, would reach base on a Red Sox error, but Welcher got out of another jam as the Red Sox turned a doubleplay on a ground ball to end the threat with Vermillion on top 6-2.

The Red Sox would plate one more run in the bottom of the eighth as Devon Schwiesow led off with a single. Jay Merrigan laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Schwiesow to second. Dusty Moore would single to bring home Schwiesow, then advance to third on a Cannons� throwing error. That was all for Rinehart, who gave way to reliever Lepkowski who managed to retire the side without any more runs scoring, but Vermillion had a 7-2 advantage heading into the ninth inning.

Welcher would make that lead stand as he retired the Cannons in order in the ninth, fanning the last two batters to put an exclamation point on the Red Sox victory.

Welcher twirled a gem in going the distance for the Red Sox, allowing just two earned runs on six hits. He struck out eight and did not issue any walks.

Rinehart went 7 1/3 innings in taking the loss for the Cannons. He surrendered seven runs on 13 hits, fanning four and walking three batters. Lepkowski pitched 2/3 of an inning of hitless relief.

Fejfar tripled in a run and hit two singles to lead the Red Sox offense. Huska doubled twice and scored two runs. Schwiesow tripled, singled, and scored once. Belding singled, scored once, and drove in a run. Heller hit a three-run homer to give Vermillion a lead it would not relinquish.

Vermillion left eight runners on base and turned two double plays. The Cannons stranded four men on base and turned one double play.

Vermillion committed four errors, compared to just two for the Cannons. But the errors by Kennebec-Chamberlain cost the Cannons dearly, while Vermillion managed to make big defensive plays after committing the errors that kept the Cannons from taking advantage of the Red Sox miscues.

The Lake Norden Lakers jumped ahead of the Vermillion Red Sox Thursday night after trailing for most of the game and then staving off the final offensive surge by the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth inning to record an 8-7 victory and move to the semi-finals of the State B Amateur Baseball Tournament in Mitchell.

The Vermillion Red Sox beat the Kennebec-Chamberlain Cannons 7-2 on Tuesday, which placed them in the quarterfinals against Lake Norden.

The Red Sox opened the tourney with a 12-5 victory over the Dell Rapids Mudcats on Thursday night. Vermillion also 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 tourney last Saturday night.

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