The first game for Vermillion on Friday night got started late in the evening, as the Red Sox and Rapid City Angels had to wait until after the Renner Roadrunners and Brookings Cubbys game. That game went 17 innings, a new tournament record (Brookings won 5-4). So the game got started at 10:15 p.m., over two hours later than anticipated.
The Angels struck first by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first off of Red Sox starter Trent Eckstaine, but Vermillion rallied to put up six runs in the top of the second. Back-to-back singles by Brian Boyer and Cole Knippling started off the frame, then Jon Merrigan was plunked by a pitch while trying to bunt to load the bases.
Angels' starter Lance Van Zee recovered to strike out Dan Hansen, but then issued consecutive walks to Brad Donovan and Robin Chute to score two runs. Josh Malenosky fanned, but another Van Zee walk, this one to Jim McNaughton, put Vermillion ahead 3-2.
That brought up Colby Lessman, who blasted a double that cleared the bases. An errant throw allowed Lessman to advance to third and he headed for home while the ball was being retrieved. But Lessman stumbled as he neared home, and was tagged out as he slid into home. That ended the inning, but Vermillion was up 6-2.
Eckstaine was touched for two runs, one of them unearned in the bottom of the second, and a nice assist by leftfielder Malenosky did cut down a runner at the plate on a double by Scott Carlson of Rapid City.
Kasey Keller blasted a solo homer for the Angels in the third to bring Rapid City to within a run.
Both teams scored two runs in the fifth inning, which saw both starting pitchers depart. Dan Christensen came on in relief for Vermillion, while Mitch McLagen took the hill for the Angels.
After a walk and stolen base by Mark Mendel, Christensen tried to pick him off, but committed a balk. However, on the play, Christensen threw wildly to third. Mendel did not stop running, and scored on the play. The Red Sox protested, but the home plate umpire ruled that Mendel had the choice of taking the balk or the play result. Mendel chose the latter, and the game was tied at 8-8. A slight rain started to fall, while lightning flashed in the western sky.
Christensen retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, then Jake Duprel singled. He stole second, advanced on a passed ball, then scored on a wild pitch before Carlson fanned to end the frame, but the damage was done.
Meanwhile, McLagen handcuffed the Red Sox hitters, throwing 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief.
Keller came on to pitch in the top of the ninth for the Angels, clinging to a one-run lead. Robin Chute led off by lacing a line drive down the leftfield line. He raced for second, trying to get a double. The incoming throw was off target, and Chute kept running. But rightfielder Carlson was backing up the throw, and Chute was tagged out sliding into third. Keller retired the next two batters in order to save the game for the Angels.
t after 1 a.m.
Chute, Boyer, and Knippling each had two hits for Vermillion, while Boyer scored two runs. Keller homered, doubled, scored twice and drove in three runs for the Angels. Billy Dwyer singled three times for Rapid City.
Vermillion left four runners on base, while the Angels stranded 10 men on base. Vermillion was hampered by five errors, which led to four unearned runs.
Vermillion Red Sox – 8-8-5.
Rapid City Angels – 9-12-1.
The Red Sox had to come back and play in the loser's bracket at 11 a.m. the next morning, taking on the Renner Roadrunners, who had played 17 innings the night before. It was hot and humid at Riverside Field in Yankton.
Renner manufactured a run in the top of the first against Red Sox starter Josh Hanson as Casey Potter singled, was bunted over to second, advanced to third on an error by shortstop Robin Chute, then came home on a sacrifice fly for an early 1-0 lead.
Pick-up player Rob Foudray from Brandon Valley started for Renner, and set down the first six Red Sox batters in order.
Renner got a couple of more runs in the third as Potter led off with a double, scored on a single by Bret Vanden Bosch, who then stole second, and plated on an RBI single by Darren Terveen. But Hanson recovered to get two strikeouts and a fly ball out to stop the rally; Renner was ahead now 3-0.
Vermillion finally got a couple of singles in the bottom of the third, but could not score against Foudray. In the fourth inning, McNaughton led off with a single. Lessman walked, and the Vermillion catcher was replaced on the bases by courtesy runner Bret Hoch. Brian Boyer laid down a bunt, but Foudray's throw to first was off the mark, and everyone was safe with no outs.
Knippling hit a ball back to Foudray, but the pitcher had to range to his left, towards first base, to gather in the ball. His only play was to first, but a run did score. Hoch advanced to third.
Next up was Jon Merrigan, who hit a towering pop fly down the third base line. Renner shortstop Zane Froelich ran a long way to catch the ball for the out, but Hoch tagged up and scored with a headfirst slide to make it 3-2. Foudray managed to retire Hansen on a comebacker to end the threat.
Renner came back with a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Froelich to make it 4-2, but Vermillion manufactured a run without a hit in the bottom part of the inning as Donovan walked, advanced on wild pitch, and went to third on a fielder's choice that saw Malenosky reach safely on a bunt attempt. Foudray tried to pick Malenosky off first, but threw it away and Donovan scored.
The Roadrunners notched another run in the sixth as an error by thirdbaseman Donovan allowed Nelson Miller to score. Renner led 5-3.
That lead would not last. In the bottom of the sixth, Knippling reached base on an error by Foudray with one out. Foudray got Merrigan to pop out, but then pinch hitter Cody Palmer, a pick-up player from the Mitchell Mad Dogs, slammed a homer to tie the game at 5-5.
Renner would strike back in the top of the seventh. Terveen led off with a single. After a fly ball out, Chris Kessinger singled to put two runners on. Froelich smacked a double over the head of leftfielder Malenosky to bring home two runners, which chased Hanson. Travis Devine, a pick-up player from Yankton Terry's, came on to get out of the inning with no more runs scoring.
Foudray contined to toil away on the hill, knowing that Renner's pitching staff was depleted from the marathon contest the night before. It was his game to win or lose. But the righty got better as the afternoon wore on. He retired Vermillion in order in the seventh, and though he allowed a walk to Boyer in the eighth, he did not allow that runner to get past first.
In the ninth with Renner still up 7-5, Foudray got Palmer to pop out to second to start the inning. An error by Froelich allowed Donovan to reach first, but he was erased on a fielder's choice hit by Chute. Malenosky drew a walk to put the two fastest runners on base for Vermillion with the heart of the order coming up. But Foudray got McNaughton to fly out to right, and the game was over. Vermillon's hope for back-to-back titles dashed.
Zane Froelich walked three times, singled, doubled, and drove in three runs for the Roadrunners. Casey Potter and Darren Terveen each scored two runs. Brad Donovan singled twice, reached on an error, and scored once for Vermillion.
Foudray gave up five runs, four of them earned on just five hits. He walked four and only struck out one in pitching a complete game. Josh Hanson took the loss for Vermillion as he gave up seven runs, six of them earned, on 12 hits in his 6 1/3 innings. Travis Devine pitched two innings of relief giving up two hits, and Cody Palmer pitched two-thirds of an inning and did not give up a hit.
Renner stranded 11 baserunners, while Vermillion left 7 men on base. Neither team was sharp in the field, with 8 errors committed between the Roadrunners and the Red Sox combined.
Vermillion finishes the season at 21-8.
Renner Roadrunners – 7-14-5.
Vermillion Red Sox – 5-5-3.