Vermillion girls take second, two thirds Six Vermillion girls' softball squads competed in the South Dakota Junior Olympic Softball tournament this past weekend in Sioux Falls and came away with some top performances, grabbing one runner-up spot and two thirds.
The three-day tournament drew close to 200 teams from across the state. Games were played at the Sherman Park Complex.
Jones' Food/Ace Hardware took a perfect 4-0 record into the U16 modified championship games Sunday but fell twice to Jubilee Foods of Madison and settled for runner-up honors.
Coach Matt Brandhagen's team opened with a win on Friday over defending state champion OP Trucking of Canton 16-0. They followed with a win over the Rapid City Mystics 19-15 in a game that went two extra innings and then late Friday night defeated Gregory 12-7. On Saturday they defeated Jubilee Foods of Madison 12-11 to advance into the title game on Sunday. Jubilee Foods battled back through the loser's bracket and met Jones' Food/Ace Hardware for the title game. Jubilee won the contest 18-9 forcing a second game against Jones'/Ace in the double elimination tournament. Jubilee won the title with a 13-5 score. Jones'/Ace ended its season with a 12-8 record.
Prosser Dental of Vermillion also competed in the U16 Modified division. They lost a tough opening game that went one extra inning to Colome/Winner 16-15 on Friday. Coach Melanie Robatham's team was then eliminated on Saturday by a 17-5 score to a tough Rapid City Mystics squad.
Three squads competed in the U14 modified division and one, O'Connor Construction, came away with a third place finish in the highly competitive bracket. The squad, coached by Lanny Walker and Missy O'Connor, received a first-round bye and started tournament play on Friday afternoon. They defeated Montrose 14-12 in their first game and then knocked off Alexandria late Friday.
Saturday afternoon O'Connor defeated a very good Springfield team 10-9 to advance to the semifinals. On Sunday afternoon they suffered their first loss to the eventual state champion, the Canton Heat 5-2. They were then eliminated from the tournament with a 13-9 loss to state runner-up M & P Transport of Yankton.
Community First also competed in the U14 bracket. Elizabeth Harder's team lost an opening round game to the Canton Heat team 16-1 but bounced back with a win on Saturday over Beresford 12-11. They ran into a tough Salem team Saturday afternoon and were eliminated 16-0.
Vermillion's other U14 team, Dairy Queen, lost an opening round game to Rapid City 16-6. Steve Gerth's squad was then eliminated in a second round game to Worthing.
Vermillion Beauty Shop competed in the U12 division and came away with a respectable third-place finish in a tough bracket. Randy Isaacson and Angie Bjorkman's squad received a first round bye on Friday and played their first game on Friday afternoon. They lost to a skilled Yankton/Stotz team 12-5. VBS had defeated Stotz twice the previous weekend in the Dakota Fastpitch League tournament for the league championship. VBS battled back through the losers bracket and defeated Salem 14-8 and Alcester 14-2 on Saturday. On Sunday they competed in the semifinals and suffered their second loss to Hurley 15-1.
The state tournament concludes the season for Vermillion girls' softball. The Vermillion Girls' Softball Association sponsors the summer program for girls age 6-18 and in 2001 over 180 girls competed. VGSA is a parent-run organization governed by a 10-member board of directors.