Red Sox win battle of state champs by Steven Thum Last season, the Vermillion Red Sox won the State "B" amateur title. The Yankton Riverbats won the State "A" title. On a cool and cloudy Tuesday night at Prentis Park, the two teams renewed their rivalry after splitting a pair of come-from-behind regular season games in 2003.
Yankton jumped on Red Sox starter Dan Christensen early as Matt Tereshinski doubled home two runs in the first inning. The Riverbats posted two unearned runs in the second inning, with Tereshinski singling home another run. Three runs were posted in the third frame, with Aaron Losing clubbing a two-run homer and Jimmy Bauer singling in one run.
Vermillion got a solo homer from Jim McNaughton in the bottom of the first off of Riverbats starter Mike Thunker. The Red Sox got another run in the third when McNaughton came home on a double by Steve Fejfar, coupled with a throwing error that allowed McNaughton to advance from third base to home. Still, after three frames Yankton lead 7-2.
The Red Sox managed to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth by posting four runs, keyed by a McNaughton RBI-double, and run scoring singles by Colby Lessman and Jim Stegge. Still, Thunker managed to get out of the inning by striking out Jon Merrigan with his team ahead 7-6.
Vermillion tied it up in the sixth inning as Stegge hit a two-out double to score McNaughton.
Christensen, who struggled early, settled down after his shaky start and pitched four shutout innings to keep the Red Sox in the game. But an RBI-double by Jesse Kurtenbach in the eighth gave the Riverbats the lead.
After getting six innings out of Thunker, the Riverbats turned to their ace, James Grotenhuis, who pitched a shutout in last year's "A" title game. The veteran righty retired the first six batters he faced.
Yankton would get another run in the ninth as a fly ball to left field was misplayed by Lessman, and Losing scored from first to make it 9-7.
In the bottom of the ninth, Lessman redeemed himself by leading off with a single. After a fly ball out, Jon Merrigan and Dustin Moore hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Grotenhuis fanned Jason Gault for the second out, but Robin Chute, who had yet to get a hit in the game, smashed a bases-clearing double just out of the reach of Yankton centerfielder Jesse Kurtenbach to bring home the winning runs. Another come from behind win, with Vermillion on top 10-9.
Christensen got the win by going the distance for the Red Sox, fanning 10 and walking five. He gave up 10 hits, and only six of the runs against him were earned.
Grotenhuis was saddled with the loss, giving up three runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Jim McNaughton had a big night at the plate. He was a triple short of the cycle, scoring three runs and driving in three. Colby Lessman singled twice and scored twice. Jim Stegge doubled, singled, and drove in two runs.
Jesse Kurtenbach singled twice, doubled, and drove in a pair of runs for Yankton.
Both teams left 10 men on base.
These two teams will hook up again Sunday night in Yankton.