Red Sox hold off late charge by Lennox

Red Sox hold off late charge by Lennox There was no shortage of offense Friday night at Prentis Park as the Vermillion Red Sox held off a late charge by Lennox S&D Flooring in a 16-12 win.

Vermillion wasted no time scoring as the Red Sox sent nine men to the plate in the first inning.

Dusty Moore hit a blooper to right field that fell in for a single. Jim McNaughton followed with a double down the left field line to put two runners in scoring position. Jason Huska lined a single to center to bring home Moore.

A wild pitch uncorked by Lennox starter Dan Conrad allowed McNaughton to score from third and Huska advanced to second. Conrad plunked Chris Belding with a pitch to put runners on the corners. Steve Fejfar drew a walk to load the bases. Colby Lessman singled to bring home Huska.

Kyle Thousand hit a fly ball that was caught, but Belding came home on the sacrifice fly. Conrad regained his composure to strike out Jon Merrigan and Jim Stegge to retire the side, but Vermillion led 4-0.

The Red Sox put another run on the board in the second inning as Belding hit a single to plate McNaughton.

Vermillion got three more runs in the third. Thousand led off with a single, stole second, then came home on a Lennox error as Moore hit a grounder to shortstop Byron Hammerstrom, whose throw to Aaron Beavers at first base was in the dirt and Beavers could not scoop it up.

McNaughton followed with his second double of the game to bring home Moore, then scored himself on another Lennox error on a grounder hit by Huska. Vermillion now led 8-0.

Lennox was held scoreless in the first three innings by Red Sox starter Scott Sebo. But the visitors got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning as Conrad scored on a bases-loaded walk to Jon Eng.

With one out and the bases still loaded, Sebo induced Steve Krier into an inning-ending double play grounder to retire the side. Vermillion still led 8-1.

Vermillion got two runs in the bottom of the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Lessman and Thousand. Another error by Lennox allowed Thousand to score his second run of the game to make it 10-1.

Lennox countered in the top of the fifth on a two-run homer by Conrad. But Belding hit a solo dinger in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 11-3.

In the sixth, Lennox started to make their move. Eng reached on a fielder's choice, then came home on a double by Krier. Beavers hit a two-run homer to make it 11-6. Hammerstrom doubled, but Sebo got Tim Gronseth to hit a towering fly ball to left, which was caught by McNaughton to end the threat.

Meanwhile, Conrad continued to struggle mightily on the hill for Lennox. In the bottom of the sixth, Thousand led off with another single, was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jon Merrigan. Stegge hit a single to bring home Thousand. Moore singled, but Stegge was cut down trying to advance to third on Moore's hit.

This was a key play, because McNaughton followed with a home run. That made the score 14-6, and Conrad was done pitching. Kevin Krull came on in relief.

Lennox was retired in order in the seventh, while Vermillion scored one run as courtesy runner Jay Merrigan came home on a balk by Krull. That made the score 15-6. Had Stegge not been thrown at third base in the previous inning, the game would have been over via the mercy rule. The Red Sox could not score again in the seventh, and the game went on.

Sebo ran out of gas in the top of the eighth. He gave up four hits and walked three runners as Lennox sent 10 men to the plate, and scored six runs in the process.

Belding came on after the eighth batter reached base. Belding gave up a double to Scott Simpson, which scored the fifth and sixth runs of the inning for Lennox, but got Scott Warrington to ground out to end the inning. It was a close play at first, which Lennox protested vigorously, but Lennox was back in the game, trailing 15-12.

Vermillion tacked on one more run in the bottom of the eighth to give Belding a little more of a cushion as he came out to pitch the top of the ninth. The right hander gave up a two-out single to Beavers, but fanned John Franks to end the game with Vermillion on top 16-12.

McNaughton hit two doubles, a homer, drove in three runs, and scored four times to lead the Red Sox offense. Moore singled twice, walked, and scored three runs, while Thousand singled twice, doubled, and drove in a pair. Belding homered, singled, scored twice, and had two RBI.

Beavers led the Lennox offense with a homer, double, single, four RBI and two runs scored. Conrad homered, doubled, walked, drove in two runs, and scored three times. Gronseth singled twice, doubled, and scored two runs.

Sebo got the win by going 7 2/3 innings. He gave up 12 runs on 13 hits, walking five and fanning six. Belding got the save by recording the last four outs, giving up one hit in that span.

Conrad took the loss for Lennox. He allowed 14 runs, 12 of them earned, in his 5 1/3 innings of work in a starting role. Conrad walked three and struck out four. Krull worked 2 2/3 innings in relief, giving up two runs on two hits.

Vermillion turned one double play and left nine men on base. Lennox stranded eight base runners.

The Red Sox scored in every inning.

Vermillion plays their final three games at home, on July 21 against Sioux Falls, July 22 against Canova (a doubleheader with both the Red Sox and Grey Sox), and July 25 against Akron.

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