Red Sox capture another district title

Red Sox capture another district title Justin Berg was starting pitcher for the Vermillion Red Sox as they faced Larchwood in the District 7B title game. (Photo by Steven Thum) by Steven Thum The Vermillion Red Sox captured another District 7B baseball title by downing their archrivals, the Larchwood Diamonds, 13-6 on Aug. 4 at Akron.

The Red Sox, the higher seed and home team for this game, struck first by scoring a couple of runs in the bottom of first frame. Robin Chute led off with a single, stole second, then stole third. Larchwood starter Shawn Fredricksen retired the next two batters, but then walked the two following batters to load the bases.

Colby Lessman singled home a run, as did the next hitter Jason Gault. But baserunner Cress Murdock got caught straying too far from second base on Gault's hit, and was tagged out to end the rally.

Justin Berg, the Red Sox starter, pitched out of a jam in the first, retired the side in order in the second, but surrendered an unearned run in the third. Matt McCarty, who had drawn a walk, then advanced on a passed ball, scored as Darren Terveen's smash to thirdbaseman Jim McNaughton was misplayed and the Diamonds cut the lead in half.

Larchwood took the lead in the top of the fourth thanks to a couple of Red Sox mistakes. With one on and one out, Jay Merrigan in centerfield misplayed a hard line drive by Chris Underberg. Jon Underberg followed with a single to load the bases. Berg committed a balk that allowed the tying run to score. McCarty laced a two-run single to put the Diamonds up 4-2.

The Red Sox mounted their own rally in the bottom of the fourth as Gault led off with a single, moved to second on a bunt by Jon Merrigan, then came home on a Jay Merrigan single. Robin Chute blasted a two-run homer to right field to put the Red Sox on top.

The Red Sox kept the rally going as Jim McNaughton doubled with two outs. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Lessman, who singled in one run, but Murdock was thrown out at home trying to score from second. Nonetheless, the Red Sox were now up 6-4.

Seven runs were scored between both teams in the fourth inning, but the fifth turned out to be different. Berg fanned the side, and Fredricksen would allow the first two runners to reach base on a walk and by plunking Jon Merrigan. Eric Kerkvliet came on in relief and manged to get out of the jam.

The Red Sox pulled away in the sixth thanks to some Larchwood errors and timely hits. Jim McNaughton reached on a Larchwood error, and Steve Fejfar followed with a two-run homer.

Cress Murdock followed with a double, then moved to third on Colby Lessman's single. A couple of errors allowed both baserunners to score and a single by Brian Boyer loaded the bases, but Kerkvliet got McNaughton to pop out to shortstop to end the rally, but the Red Sox were now on top 10-4.

The Diamonds were not ready to throw in the towel, despite committing four errors the inning before. An error by Chute allowed Darren Terveen to reach first, then Dennis Simon hit a two-run homer off of Berg. But the Vermillion righty settled down after that and retired the next two batters.

The Red Sox would chase Kerkvliet in the bottom of the eighth after the young righty could not retire any of the first five batters he faced in that inning. A walk to John Merrigan, and single by brother Jay, and another single by Chute loaded the bases. Boyer drew a walk for an RBI, then McNaughton laced a single to bring home two more.

Darren Terveen came in to retire the next three batters in order with the Red Sox up 13-6.

Rob Miller came in and pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the title for Vermillion

Berg threw eight strong innings for the Red Sox, allowing six runs, four of them earned, on seven hits. He fanned nine and walked three.

Fredricksen was saddled with the loss for Larchwood. He gave up six runs on eight hits in his four-plus innings of work. He issued six walks and struck out three. Eric Kerkvliet pitched three innings of relief and gave up seven runs, four of them earned, on eight hits.

Robin Chute scored three runs on the night, hitting a home run and singling twice. Steve Fejfar homered and drew three walks. Colby Lessman singled three times and had two RBIs. Jay Merrigan singled twice and scored two runs.

Matt McCarty and Jon Underberg singled twice each for Larchwood. Dennis Simon's lone hit was a two-run homer.

Vermillion stranded 14 baserunners, while Larchwood left eight men on base.

Both teams qualified for the state tournament, as did Newcastle, NE, and the Vermillion Grey Sox out of District 7B.

In the first night of the tournament, Wednesday, August 11, Newcastle played Groton at 6 p.m., while the Red Sox, last year's Class "B" champions, took on Platte at 8 p.m.

Larchwood takes on Irene on Friday at 5:30 p.m., while the Grey Sox face Kennebec-Chamberlain on Sunday at 11 a.m.

The State "B" Tournament this year will be played in Sioux Falls at The Birdcage.

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