Red Sox win District 7B tourney by Steven Thum During the regular season the Vermillion Red Sox lost only one game. The opponent was Larchwood, and the game was played at Prentis Park. Those two teams met again at Prentis Park with the District 7B title on the line Aug. 8.
After two scoreless frames to start the game, the Red Sox exploded in the top of the third. Dustin Moore led off with a double against Larchwood starter Shawn Fredrickson. Jim McNaughton reached base on an error, then stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Jason Huska hit a fly ball to center that was caught, but Moore scored on the sacrifice fly to break the scoreless tie.
Chris Belding singled to score McNaughton to make it 2-0. Steve Fejfar followed with a single, and Jeff Gilbertson came on as the courtesy runner for the Red Sox catcher. Fredrickson fanned Jon Merrigan for the second out, but three straight singles by Colby Lessmann, Jim Stegge, and Jay Merrigan scored a run each, and that chased Fredickson with the Red Sox up 5-0.
Scott Den Boer came on in relief, and struck out Moore to retire the side.
Billy Welcher, the Red Sox starter, now had a big lead to work with. But Larchwood got on the scoreboard in the fourth when Jerry Pytleski led off the inning with a solo homer. Larchwood got two runners into scoring position later in the inning, but Welcher got Jayden Lorenzen to fly out to right field to end the threat.
Larchwood scored again in the fifth inning as Brent Ripperda singled with one out, and Koury Kramer followed with a single of his won. Pytleski delivered again for Larchwood with a double to plate two runners, and the Red Sox lead was trimmed to 5-3.
Welcher fanned Justin Boeve for out number two, but an error charged to Huska at shortstop brought home Pytleski, and the lead was now just one run. Welcher struck out Chris Underberg to end the inning, but the score was now 5-4.
Moore led off the sixth with a solo homer to give the Red Sox a little bit of breathing room. Two more runs would score in the seventh thanks to two Larchwood errors and an RBI-single by Jay Merrigan, all coming with two outs, to give the Red Sox an 8-4 advantage.
Meanwhile, Welcher was starting to cruise on the hill after a couple of rocky innings. As Welcher was hitting his stride, so was the Red Sox offense. Two more runs would score in the eighth as Fejfar drove in two runs with a double.
Den Boer would last until the ninth. Moore walked with one out to start a rally. Den Boer did fan McNaughton, but Moore stole second, then scored on a Huska single. Belding hit a towering home run to make it 13-4, and that was all for Den Boer.
Dan Gaeke came on in relief for Larchwood, and was greeting by Fejfar, who blasted a home run to dead centerfield to make it 14-4. Gaeke did retire the next batter to end the inning with the Red Sox up by 10.
Welcher polished off Larchwood in the bottom of the ninth by retiring the side in order, and getting two strikeouts in the process, for the complete game victory.
Welcher scattered 11 hits, struck out eight, and did not issue a single walk.
Belding led the Red Sox offense with a homer, three singles, three runs scored, and three RBIs. Fejfar also homered, and added a single and a double, driving in three runs. Moore homered, doubled, drew a walk, and scored three runs. Huska singled three times, scored twice, and drove in two.
Pytleski homered, doubled, and drove in three runs for Larchwood. The Red Sox turned three doubleplays, and stranded ten baserunners.
Larchwood left five men on base.
With the win the Red Sox capture the District 7B title, improve to 27-1, and gain a first round bye at the State �B� Tournament. The Red Sox will open on Sunday, Aug. 18, with a game at 1 p.m. against an opponent yet to be determined.
The State �B� Tournament will be held Aug. 15-25 at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. Larchwood and Lennox Heartland Medical will be the other two teams representing District 7B at the State �B� Tournament.