Red Sox reign at Class A

Red Sox reign at Class A
According to manager Kirk Sorensen, Vermillion's 2003 Class B championship – the first for the Red Sox after runner-up finishes in 1992 and 1996 and several semifinal appearances – will always be the sweetest.

The Red Sox' first-ever Class A title isn't bad, though.

Vermillion, which did not qualify for state a year ago in the team's first season competing in the upper division, ousted two-time defending champion Renner 9-8 in the Class A championship of the South Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament Sunday at Cadwell Park.


"The first one in ?B' is still the most memorable for me," Sorensen said after the victory. "That one was a long time coming. This one is like the frosting on the cake, kind of like our 2004 (Class B) title was.

"But this one ain't bad."

Renner, which had sent Vermillion into the loser's bracket with a 4-3 decision Friday, looked to make quick work of the Red Sox, jumping out in the second inning with a three-run blast from Kevin Knetsch. Vermillion answered quickly. Robin Chute led off the top of the third with a single. After moving to second on a sacrifice and to third on a groundout, the Red Sox leadoff hitter scored on a Colby Lessman single. Chris Losett followed with a base hit and Brian Boyer doubled to plate Travis Peters, Lessman's courtesy runner. Losett was gunned down trying to score the tying run, leaving Vermillion down 3-2.

The Red Sox took the lead in the fourth inning, scoring on a Rand Thygeson double, an error and a Josh Malenosky single, but the Monarchs got out of trouble by turning a double play.

Losett made up for his base-running gaff in the third inning in his next plate appearance. After Lessman led off with a double, Losett launched the ball over the left field fence, giving the Red Sox a 7-3 advantage and chasing Monarchs pitcher Mike Clapp.

Vermillion went to the bullpen for Thygeson in the bottom of the sixth after Renner's Andy Salmela and Clapp led off the frame with singles. Luke Langenfeld rudely greeted the pickup player from the Yankton Terry's with a three-run shot to pull within one. The Monarchs added runs on singles by Bryan Hohenthaner and Brian McGuire later in the frame, taking an 8-7 advantage.

But the Red Sox kept their faith in their temporary teammate, the all-Great Plains Athletic Conference pitcher for Mount Marty noted.

"Even when I blew the lead, they supported me," he said. "It helped having a veteran like (Red Sox starting pitcher and former pro pitcher) Josh Merrigan talk to me. He settled me down."

Vermillion evened the game at 8-8 in the top of the seventh, scoring on a Boyer double. In the eighth, the Red Sox took the lead when Peters, who came in the game when Thygeson went to the mound, led off with a single, Thygeson followed with a double and Chute plated a run on a sacrifice fly.

Renner threatened, but could not score off the Red Sox in the final three innings. The Monarchs had two runners on in both the seventh and eighth innings, and put another runner on in the ninth, but could not score. A diving catch by Jim McNaughton in the ninth sealed the game.

"That last catch ? wow," said Thygeson, who was named the tournament MVP. "My heart felt like it skipped a beat. ?Nugget' came out of no where and made an amazing catch."

Boyer went 4-5 with two doubles for Vermillion. Losett posted three hits. Chute, Malenosky, Lessman and Thygeson had two hits each in the victory.

For Renner, Hohenthaner, McGuire, Clapp and Langenfeldt each had two hits.

Thygeson picked up the win, striking out five in four innings of work in relief of Merrigan. Merrigan had struck out five and allowed five runs in five-plus innings of work.

Derek Ohme, the second Renner pitcher, took the loss. Luke Kathol, a pick-up player from Yankton, pitched two innings of two-hit relief.

Throughout the tournament, the Red Sox kept the offense going with players putting the ball in play, whether it be for hits or for sacrifices.

"I think we had one guy with eight sacrifice bunts in the tournament," Sorensen noted. "Especially with wood bats, base hits win ball games, and we were putting the ball in play."

Saturday

Boyer singled home Vance Caffee from second in the bottom of the 10th, giving Vermillion a 3-2 victory over Brookings Saturday.

Brookings scored both its runs in the top of the first. Vermillion got one run back in the bottom of the first on a Lessman single.

The Red Sox tied the game in the fifth inning on a McNaughton RBI single. Vermillion threatened to take the lead in the eighth and Losett tried to score from second on a Jon Merrigan single, but was cut down at the plate by a Jeremy Deutsch throw.

In the bottom of the 10th,Lessman had a one-out single and was replaced by Caffee, the courtesy runner. Losett and Boyer followed with singles, ending the game.

"I was trying to make sure I got a strike to hit," Boyer said of his game-winning at-bat. "I was just trying to do my job. Fortunately I came up big."

Vermillion got three hits from Lessman and two each from Chute, Losett, Boyer and Dan Hansen.

For Brookings, Chris Brown and Chris Studer each had a double, a single and a run scored. Robb McClemans also doubled for the Cubby's.

Thygeson picked up the win in relief. He struck out four and allowed one hit in 2 2/3 innings of work.

Tim Butterbaugh took the loss in relief, pitching the ninth and 10th innings.

Earlier in the day, Brookings had stayed alive with a 2-1 victory over the Renner Roadrunners.

"I don't feel we played bad today," said Butterbaugh, the Cubby's manager. "Today we played two one-run ball games. We won the first and lost the second in extras."

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