Red Sox earn top seed slot in tourney Team claims District 7B title with 11-7 win over Lennox

Red Sox earn top seed slot in tourney Team claims District 7B title with 11-7 win over Lennox The Vermillion Red Sox outslugged Lennox S & D Flooring 11-7 in the championship game of the District 7B tournament to earn a top seed slot in the upcoming State B Amateur Baseball Tournament to be played Aug. 9-19 in Sioux Falls.

Lennox got on the scoreboard first as Dan Conrad doubled to bring home Tim Gronseth in the top of the first. The host team, playing as the visitors in this contest, got the early 1-0 lead.

The Red Sox struck back in the bottom of the second as Steve Fejfar led off with a walk, then Colby Lessman blasted a two-run homer to put Vermillion on top. Kyle Thousand then walked, stole second, advanced to third, and came home on a ground out by Jon Merrigan to make it 3-1.

Lennox came back in the top of the third as Gronseth hit a solo dinger to make it 3-2. But the Red Sox got a two-run homer from Fejfar to extend the Vermillion lead to 5-2.

Scott Simpson led off with a double for Lennox in the fourth, and one out later Steve Krier would single to put runners at the corners. A fly ball out by Jon Eng plated Simpson, and the Red Sox lead was cut 5-3.

Vermillion starter Jay Berkenpas managed to fan Byron Hammerstrom to end the threat with the tying run at the plate.

Thousand would lead off in the fourth for the Red Sox with a double, advance to third on a ground out, then score on a sacrifice fly by Cory Lessman. The Red Sox lead was back to three runs at 6-3.

Every time Lennox put a run on the board, the Red Sox would counter with a score of their own, keeping Lennox at arm's length as the game moved into the middle innings.

Berkenpas got into a jam in the fifth as back-to-back singles with one out put the tying run at the plate again, but the Red Sox lefty fanned Scott Warrington and then got Krier to fly out to center, and a goose egg went on the scoreboard for Lennox.

Jim McNaughton led off the fifth with a solo homer for the Red Sox to make it 7-3.

The sixth inning saw both teams get one runner on base, but neither team scored. Berkenpas gave way after the sixth inning to Thousand.

Lennox took advantage of a Vermillion miscue to score in the seventh. Gronseth reached on an error, then came home on a double by Kevin Krull to make it 7-4. But Thousand struck out Simpson to retire the side and limit the damage.

The Red Sox got a couple runners on base in the seventh as Jason Huska walked and Fejfar singled, but the next two batters were retired in order as Lennox still hung on, trailing by three.

Lennox failed to score in the eighth, then the Red Sox bats went to work in the bottom of the frame.

Merrigan led off with a homer to make it 8-4. Cory Lessman followed with a double, then came home one out later on a single by McNaughton. Huska doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Lennox then committed a two-base error that could have ended the inning, but instead both McNaughton and Huska scored, and Vermillion had a commanding 11-4 advantage.

Lennox would not go quietly in their last at bat. Aaron Beavers doubled, and Gronseth followed with a walk. Conrad followed with a home run to make it 11-7. But that is all that Thousand would allow, as he retired the next two batters in order, gave up a single, then got Krier to ground out to end the game.

Colby Lessman, Fejfar, Merrigan and McNaughton all hit home runs for the Red Sox. Huska, Thousand, Cory Lessman, Dusty Moore and Colby Lessman all added doubles to the Vermillion hitting attack. Thousand, Fejfar, Huska and McNaughton each scored twice.

Gronseth was the leading hitter for Lennox, as he walked twice, singled, homered, and scored four of Lennox's seven runs.

Berkenpas pitched six innings in a starting role for Vermillion to get the win. The southpaw allowed three runs on seven hits, three walks, and he fanned six. Thousand pitched three innings in relief, surrendering four runs, three walks, and he fanned six. Thousand pitched three innings in relief, surrendering four runs, three of them earned, on four hits. The righty struck out three and walked one.

With a win, the Red Sox claim not only the District 7B title, but also a first round state tournament bye. Lennox gets the second seed as district runner-up, and Larchwood the third and final spot.

The Red Sox need only win one game to reach quarterfinals, while Lennox needs to win two games and Larchwood three games to get the final eight teams.

Vermillion will have to wait for a couple of games to be played before they know who their opponent will be. On the first day of the tournament, Crofton (NE) will play Flandreau, and the winner of that game will take on the Kennebec-Chamberlain Cannons. The winner of that contest will be the opponent of the Red Sox at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the Birdcage in Sioux Falls.

Larchwood is to play in the very first game of the tournament on Aug. 9 against Mobridge-Selby. Lennox starts tournament play the next day at 5:30 p.m. against Platte.

The Red Sox added four pick-up players to their lineup � Tracy St. Pierre of Beresford, and three players from the Grey Sox, Rusty Jensen, Nick Mayer and Rex Kinnear. Ryan Baedke of the Grey Sox was picked up by Lennox.

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