Red Sox down Saints 8-2 Thursday at home by Steven Thum The Vermillion Red Sox improved to 13-0 on the season by holding off the Sioux City Saints 8-2 Thursday night, June 27, at Prentis Park.
It was a great night for baseball with clear skies and just a slight breeze.
Vermillion struck right away with a couple of runs in the first inning. Jim McNaughton led off with a single and then stole second. Jason Huska drew a walk. Chris Belding hit a single to load the bases.
Steve Fejfar reached on an error by Steve Wager, the Saints� first baseman, which allowed McNaughton to score. Kelly Heller hit a sacrifice fly to plate Huska, and Vermillion had a quick 2-0 lead.
The Red Sox would score one more in the second off of Saints starter Justin Combs. McNaughton hit a two-out double, then came home on a single by Huska to make it 3-0.
Meanwhile, Jay Berkenpas was in control on the mound for the Red Sox, shutting out the Saints for the first six innings of play. The Red Sox southpaw fanned the side in the top of the sixth.
The Red Sox tacked on two more runs in the fourth on a two-run homer by McNaughton to make it 5-0.
The Saints got back in the game in the top of the seventh as a couple of errors by second baseman Cory Lessman led to two runs scoring on a single by Justin Sanders. Berkenpas recovered to get Rudy Pithan to ground out to retire the side, but the lead had been cut to 5-2.
Vermillion added a cushion to the lead in the bottom of the eighth off of Saints reliever Kevin Kruse. Singles by pinch-hitter Jason Gault and Jon Merrigan started off the rally. Jay Merrigan tried to bunt the runners over, but his bunt attempt was a popup to Kruse for the first out.
Lessman flied out to center for the second out. McNaughton drew a walk to load the bases. Huska slapped a single to drive in a pair, and McNaughton scored also on the play as the throw in from left field was wild. This made the score 8-2.
Kruse managed to get out of the jam without any more damage. Chris Belding came on to relieve Berkenpas in the eighth, and he shut the door, pitching two scoreless innings. Belding fanned three and allowed just one hit in collecting the save.
Berkenpas got the win. The southpaw gave up just five hits, two runs, both of them unearned, and struck out 10.
McNaughton went 3-for-4 and nearly hitting for the cycle. McNaughton singled, doubled, homered, drew a walk, scored four times, and drove in two. Huska singled twice and picked up two RBIs.