Grey Sox qualify for State B Amateur tourney by Steven Thum In just their fourth year of existence, and having come oh-so-close before, the Vermillion Grey Sox qualified for the State B Amateur Baseball Tournament by downing Larchwood 9-5 on Monday night in Larchwood in the District 7B Tournament.
The Grey Sox got on the board first in the bottom of the second with Ryan Baedke, Dave Holoch and Jason Dietrich scoring.
Grey Sox starter Rusty Jensen shut out Larchwood for the first five innings, but Larchwood got on the board in the top of the sixth when Justin Boeve hit a solo homer with one out.
The Grey Sox scored again in the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-1, and Larchwood starter Dan Gacke's night on the mound was done. Scott Den Boer came on in relief, and walked Aaron Baedke, then uncorked a wild pitch to plate Eric Rickord.
Nick Mayer singled to bring home Bartling to make it 6-1.
After getting Ryan Baedke to line out to Chris Underberg at second for the first out, things took a strange turn. With runners on first and third and just one out, Holoch hit a sharp grounder to second.
Underberg scooped up the ball, and flipped it to shortstop Koury Kramer at second, who simply kneeled on the bag, then tossed the ball towards the middle of the infield and started trotting back to the dugout.
Holoch was safe at first, and Aaron Baedke scored from third. What should have been an inning-ending doubleplay turned into just a simple force out, and a run scored for the Grey Sox on the Larchwood blunder.
The inning would continue, and the Grey Sox kept the rally going to make it 8-1.
But Larchwood would not go quietly. Boeve singled, then Jensen walked the next two batters to load the bases. Shawn Fredricksen hit a grounder to Mayer at shortstop. But the ball took a crazy hop and got by Mayer, allowing two runs to score.
Jaden Lorenzen hit a two-RBI single to make it 8-5. But Jensen got Jesse Blauwet to fly out to right, and the side was retired.
The Grey Sox were not fazed, regained the momentum, and increased the lead to 9-5.
Larchwood got a single from Jon Underberg to start the inning. Jensen came up big by striking out the next batter, Koury Kramer, for the first out. Chris Underberg singled to put runners at first and second.
Justin Boeve hit a deep fly to right, but was tracked down by Baedke for the second out.
Next up was Dennis Simon who smashed a grounder deep into the hole between third and short. Mayer backhanded the ball deep in the hole, and fired a perfect throw to Sharp at first base for the final out.
The Grey Sox had finally made it to the state tournament.
Jensen went the distance on the hill for the Grey Sox, allowing five runs on nine hits. The tall righthander struck out seven and walked four.
Ryan Baedke singled twice, doubled, and drove in two runs to lead the Grey Sox offense. Nick Sharp singled twice, walked, and had two RBIs. Dietrich triped, singled, and scored once.
Aaron Baedke scored two runs, reaching base on a walk and fielder's choice.
Bret Bartling singled twice, driving in a run and scored once.
With the Grey Sox win, and the fact that the Red Sox are already in the state tournament regardless of the outcome of the District 7B title game against Lennox on Wednesday night, this marks the first time that two Vermillion teams will make it to the state tournament, which begins on Aug. 13 in Mitchell.
State tournament pairings will be announced after the last of the district tournaments have been completed.