Red Sox rally past Yankton Thursday and win 13-12

Red Sox rally past Yankton Thursday and win 13-12 by Steven Thum The Vermillion Red Sox saved the best for last as they rallied from an 11-run deficit to knock off the previously unbeaten Yankton Riverbats on Thursday night at Prentis Park by a score of 13-12.

Both starting pitchers gave up runs in their first inning of work. Red Sox starter Justin Berg plunked a couple of batters who both scored on a double by Aaron Losing to give the visitors an early 2-0 lead.

Vermillion got a run back in the bottom of the first as Robin Chute led off with a double against James Grotenhuis. Chute stole third with one out, and scored on a single by Dustin Moore.

After a scoreless second inning, Yankton's offense got in gear. After retiring the first two batters in the top of the third, things fell apart for Berg.

The righty gave up four hits in a row, three of them home runs hit by Jesse Kurtenbach, Aaron Losing, and Jeremy Grady. Four runs scored before the inning ended, and Yankton led 6-1.

Colby Lessman came on to pitch in the fourth. Eric Bailey led off with a single. Lessman retired Travis Peters on a fly out, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Travis Thompson and Jimmy Bauer. Kurtenbach cleared the bases with a grand slam home run to make it 10-1.

Yankton wasn't done scoring as Jason Nelson and Losing hit singles, then both came home on a two-out double by former Red Sox slugger Kelly Heller. Yankton now led 12-1, and it seemed as if the game was in the bag for the Riverbats. Cress Murdock replaced Lessman on the hill to start the fifth.

Grotenhuis gave way to Chad Kapla on the mound in the fourth. The lefty got through that frame fine, but things turned around in the fifth.

Vermillion got a rally going as Lessman led off by reaching base on an error by Yankton shortstop Travis Peters. After a fly out by Jon Merrigan, brother Jay got a single. Chute singled in a run and went to second as rightfielder Bauer mishandled the ball in the outfield. Brian Boyer singled home both Jay Merrigan and Chute, and the lead was cut to 12-4.

Dustin Moore hit a shot to the gap to plate Boyer, then Steve Fejfar hit a 3-1 pitch over the fence to make it 12-7. Vermillion was back in the game.

Meanwhile, Murdock was solid in relief, shutting down the once potent Riverbat offense through the crucial middle innings.

Vermillion tacked on two more runs in the eighth as Andy Bernatow was now pitching for Yankton. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Dustin Moore, who drew a base on balls to score another run. A fielder's choice grounder by Fejfar brought home a second run to cut the lead to 12-9.

While Vermillion was surging, Yankton started to lose their composure. Grotenhuis, watching from the bench, was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Zalme for arguing. Grumbles were heard from Riverbats players on close pitches, both in the field and at the plate.

Murdock held Yankton scoreless for five innings, and had a chance to help his cause as he led off in the bottom of the ninth, but he grounded out to McGrady at first base. Lessman drew a walk, but Bernatow got Jon Merrigan to fly out for the second out.

Jay Merrigan kept the Vermillion hopes alive by drawing a walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Robin Chute singled to plate Lessman and make the score 12-10.

Brian Boyer was up next, and fell behind 1-2 in the count. A close pitch was called a ball, and drew the ire of the Yankton players. Boyer then slapped a double, which brought home both Merrigan and Chute, who was running hard from first base. The game was now tied.

Dustin Moore completed the comeback by hitting a single to bring home Boyer, and the Red Sox walked away with an improbable 13-12 win.

Cress Murdock got the win by throwing five innings of shutout relief, allowing just two hits, walking two and striking out four. Andy Bernatow took the loss by pitching two and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on five hits, and issuing five walks.

Robin Chute had five hits, a walk, scored three runs, and drove in two. Brian Boyer had three hits, two of them doubles, and drove in four. Dustin Moore had four RBIs with his three hits.

Jesse Kurtenbach had two home runs and five RBIs for Yankton. Aaron Losing singled, doubled, homered, and drove in four runs.

Yankton turned four doubleplays, but were hurt by six errors. Vermillion left eight runners on base.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 16-2, while Yankton is now 16-1.

The Red Sox play host to Beresford on Sunday, July 20, and Sioux City Saints on Wednesday, July 23.

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