Vermillion Red Sox notch two easy victories Vermillion Red Sox Cress Murdock takes a cut against Groton. (Photo by Steven Thum) by Steven Thum The Vermillion Red Sox began this season in an unfamiliar role: defending State "B" Champions. After posting a 24-6 regular season, the Red Sox started this year's state tournament as a favorite to repeat.
The first two games seem to support this notion, as the Red Sox posted two easy wins, clobbering Platte 21-0 in five innings, then rolling by Groton 19-4 in six innings.
The game against Platte was never in doubt. The Red Sox scored nine runs in the bottom of the first as Platte starting pitcher Casey Hegge didn't make it out of the first frame. The Red Sox sent 14 men to the plate in that inning.
Meanwhile, Red Sox starting pitcher Dan Christensen was in total control holding Platte hitless through the first three innings.
The Red Sox didn't score in the second against releiver Rick Sternberg, but two runs did score in the bottom of the third.
The game was blown wide open in the bottom of the fourth as 10 runs would score for the Red Sox. Ross Van Zee came on in relief for Platte to get out of the inning as Sternberg could not record a single out in that inning.
Christensen did allow a hit in the top of the fourth, but fanned the side in the fifth. The game ended via the mercy rule at 21-0.
Every Red Sox starter got at least one hit. Jay Merrigan and Cress Murdock recorded three hits each. All starters save one had at least one RBI.
Platte hurt themselves by committing four errors and issuing five wild pitches.
Christensen fanned eight in his five innings of work. He allowed just one hit.
Vermillion 19, Groton 4
With the win on Wednesday night, the first night of the State "B" Tournament, the Red Sox advanced to play the Groton Tribe on Sunday night.
The Red Sox scored right away in the bottom of the first. Robin Chute singled, advanced to second on a bunt by Brian Boyer, then stole third base. Dustin Moore walked to put runners on the corners. Red Sox skipper Kirk Sorenson called for the double steal, and it worked to perfection as Moore swiped second, and Chute raced home on the throw to second base. The Red Sox lead 1-0.
The Red Sox would post two runs in the bottom of the second. Three singles in a row started the rally right away against Tribe starter Dan Godel. Jay Merrigan's sacrifice fly brought home Colby Lessman, who started the rally. Chute would double to bring home another run in the form of Jim Stegge. But Godel would retire the next two batters on ground outs to keep the score at 3-0.
Godel would get tagged for five runs in the bottom of the third, and once again, the bottom of the order would spark the rally. Steve Fejfar lead off with a double, with Jason Gault coming on as the courtesy runner. After a fly ball out, Lessman, Stegge, and Jon Merrigan would single in order, as they did the inning before, and two runs would score in the process.
Jay Merrigan hit into a fielder's choice, which brought home Stegge. Chute contined his hot hitting by hitting a two-run homer to make it 8-0.
Red Sox starting pitcher Justin Berg rolled through the first four frames, shutting out the Tribe.
Barry Keith came on to pitch in the fourth for Groton, but he promptly gave up four runs before registering an out. Singles by Fejfar, Murdock, and Lessman, which brought home a run, set the stage for Stegge, who smashed a three-run dinger to make it 12-0.
But Berg would struggle in the fifth. He would give up two hits, hit a batter, and issue four walks as the Tribe would score four runs.
The Red Sox would post one run in the fifth as Lessman singled home Moore to make it 13-4.
Berg recovered from his shaky fifth inning to retire the side in order in the sixth inning. His services would not be needed after that.
The Red Sox offense got rolling again in the bottom of the sixth. Keith walked the first two batters, and his night was done. Jayson Karst came on and fanned Chute, his first time out of the night, but the Red Sox would knock out four straight singles, then a double by Lessman, his fifth hit of the night, would plate the 19th run and end the game via the mercy rule.
Lessman had an awesome game by going 5-for-5, with four singles, and double and four RBIs. Stegge singled twice, homered, and drove in three. Lessman and Stegge each scored three runs.
Robin Chute was a triple short of the cycle and drove in three runs. Steve Fejfar doubled, singled twice, and drove in a run.
All Red Sox starters save one had at least one hit.
Berg gave up four runs in his six innings of work. He allowed five hits, five walks, and fanned seven.
Dan Godel was saddled with the loss for Groton, which ends its season at 17-11.
The Red Sox advanced to the quarterfinals to play Lake Norden on Thursday night at the Birdcage in Sioux Falls. See next week's Plain Talk for a report of that game.