Post 1 wins 2 of 4 at Wood Bat Classic By Parker Knox
Sports Writer Vermillion Post 1 may not win every one of its games, but itâ�?�?s not for a lack of enthusiasm.�? Coach Jason Gaultâ�?�?s always-entertaining American Legion ballclub split its four�? contests in the Lewis & Clark Wood Bat Classic here last week. This weekend Post 1 begins a stretch of eight straight road games with a Friday night twinbill at Harrisburg. The club will be in Elk Point for a 1 p.m. game Saturday,�? goes to Brandon Valley next Wednesday, then�? plays four games�? June 21-22 at a tournament in Winner.�? Next action at home for�? Post 1 will be a June 24 date with Canton and the First Dakota Classic June 27-28. Mitchell blew through the Lewis & Clark tourney with a 6-0 record, ending with a 4-1 win over Brandon Valley in the championship game. Josh Merriganâ�?�?s Sioux Falls West club was perfect in the Vermillion pool with a 4-0 record but lost a semifinal match to Brandon Valley.�? Mitchell won the other semifinal over Blair, NE. â�?�?We were happy about the way our kids played,â�? Gault observed. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s been a couple of years since weâ�?�?ve been able to win even�? one game in this tournament.â�?�? He gave his kids credit for beating Gretna, a former Nebraska champion, and Class â�?�?Aâ�? Watertown as well as giving another good shot at state â�?�?Bâ�? champion Parkston. â�?�?As for Parkston, weâ�?�?ll do our best to get over the hump against them when it really counts â�?�? in the state tournament if weâ�?�?re lucky enough to get there,â�? Gault said. Here are highlights of Vermillionâ�?�?s four games: S.F. West 8,�? Vermillion 2 Post 1 had at least man on base in each inning against Westâ�?�?s Brian Duxbury, but the righthander was never in trouble as he struck out six, walked none and scattered eight Vermillion hits. Reid Meierkort and Kyle Olsen accounted for five of those hits but always in two-out situations, so Post 1 could never mount a�? big inning against Duxbury.�? Meierkortâ�?�?s double and Olsenâ�?�?s single in the third plated Post 1â�?�?s only run until the bottom of the final�? stanza when�? a trio of pinchhitters produced another score.�? Mike Oberle singled, moved to second on Grant Luederâ�?�?s grounder and scored on Tyler Johnsonâ�?�?s basehit. Meanwhile, after going down in order in the first two innings against Post 1�? hurler Brian Womack, West got on a roll in the third when they put together five singles, a sacrifice and two hit batsmen to score four times.�? The Sioux Falls team scored twice each in the fifth and seventh to build its lead. Womack fanned six and walked only two while allowing nine hits.�? Unfortunately those nine base knocks were squeezed into the three innings in which West scored. Ross Peterson, Ryan Hander and Casey Leaf had two hits each for West. Vermillion 6, Gretna 5 With Johnson on the mound, Post 1 knows it�? has a�? reasonable chance to win.�? In Fridayâ�?�?s nightcap, Johnson, backed up by some fine defensive plays, kept the Nebraskans in check until a wild final inning. Vermillion had jumped off to a 2-0 lead in the first when leadoff man Sam McBride singled, was sacrificed to second by Jason Rasmussen and took third on Meierkortâ�?�?s single. McBride scored on a double steal, and Meierkort crossed the plate on Kyle Nemecâ�?�?s hit. Gretna got one run back on a hit batsman and two singles in the fourth and tied the game on a double and a single in the sixth. Gretna might have taken the lead earlier, but McBride had made a spectacular diving catch of a pop-up headed for the outfield to end the second.�? Catcher Andrew Eidem nailed a Gretna runner trying to steal third in the fifth.�? Shortstop Rasmussen, with Gretna runners at the corners and the�? score tied,�? vacuumed up�? a sharp ground ball and fired to first to end the sixth. Vermillionâ�?�?s first five batters in the bottom of the sixth reached safely, and four of them scored.�? Olsenâ�?�?s double and Nemecâ�?�?s single ignited the game-winning rally against starter Tyson Huhze.�? Two walks followed off reliever Jordan Stutz. A wild pitch put Post 1 into the lead, then J.R. Moore laid down an exquisite suicide squeeze bunt and reached base safely while Nemec stormed home from third. Grounders off the bats of Jerrod Freidel and McBride plated two more runs for a comfortable 6-2 lead heading into the final inning. But Post 1 played the role of generous hosts in the top of the seventh, giving Gretna five outs instead of three. With one out Dario Melendes struck out but reached base on a wild pitch. With Gretna down to�? its last out, a single and a double made it 6-3 with runners at second and third. A fly ball to end the game slipped off the glove of Meierkort in centerfield for an uncharacteristic error, allowing two more runs to score. With the tying run at first, McBride put an end to the nonsense with a rolling, tumbling, stumbling catch of a ball destined to drop for a hit in short right field. Olsen and Nemec had two hits apiece with Eidem, Moore, Meierkort and McBride registering one base knock each. In getting the complete-game win, Johnson fanned three and walked none, and only three of Gretnaâ�?�?s five runs were earned. Vermillion 6 Watertown 5 A win is a win, so, ugly ballgame though it was, the most thrilling of Post 1â�?�?s four tournament games was its 6-5 nine-inning�? triumph over Watertown. Starter Olsen had only three strikeouts in his five innings of work, but two of them were crucial inning-enders.�? Otherwise he was able to coax groundballs out of the Watertown hitters to end three other threats. In the fifth, Olsen twice faced bases-loaded situations, but shortstop Jason Rasmussen took things into his own hands.�? With the sacks jammed and nobody out, he gloved a line drive and tagged a nearby runner for an unassisted double play. Later with the bases loaded again and two out, he scooped up a groundball to end the inning. Post 1â�?�?s lone run up to that point had come about as the result of a Watertown infield error, a sacrifice and an infield out. Watertown got two walks off reliever Grant Lueders�? in the sixth, but catcher Andrew Eidem, looking up into the sun, caught a foul pop-up behind the plate to end the inning. Vermillion caught a couple breaks in its half of the sixth to score three times without the aid of a hit. A hit batter and a walk set the table for Brandon Womack.�? His ground ball seemed innocent enough, but the Watertown first-baseman let it go through him, and the ball caromed far down�? into right-field foul territory.�? Baserunners Kyle Olsen and Eidem merrily�? moved around the bases.�? Womack kept chugging, too, and as he tried to reach third, the first-baseman fired the ball back across the diamond.�? This time his throw sailed over the third baseman and out of play, enabling Womack to score. A 4-2 lead didnâ�?�?t hold for Post 1 in the top of the seventh as Watertown parlayed a walk, a hit batter, a wild pitch and a single into the two tying runs. In the first extra frame Eidem did his part by picking off a Watertown baserunner at first, but Post 1 batters�? went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Watertown took the lead on two infield errors, a wild pitch and a passed ball in the top of the ninth, but somebody up there was looking down on Vermillion in its half of the stanza.�? �? Pinchhitter J.R. Moore led off with a hit.�? Freidel followed with a picturesque bunt that was fielded by Watertown reliever Drew Danforth.�? He uncorked a high throw that his first baseman had no chance of catching.�? Moore scored to tie the game, and Freidel steamed all the way to third.�? The next batter, McBride, grounded sharply to shortstop, but the Watertown fielder couldnâ�?�?t come up with the ball, and Freidel scored the winning run. Parkston 5, Vermillion 2 The most frustrating of Post 1â�?�?s two losses in the tournament was�? at the hands of�? its baseball nemesis, Parkston.�? In high school ball this spring, twice Vermillion High had played Parkston close and tough, only to lose both times.�? This time Post 1 took the game into an extra inning before Parkston broke it open with three eighth-inning runs. Only once did Parkston get to starter J.R. Moore. A double by Tyson Gau scored two runners in the third, and that held up until Vermillionâ�?�?s bottom of the sixth. Post 1â�?�?s Jerrod Freidel led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second by Sam McBride and took third on a ball. He scored on Reid Meierkortâ�?�?s single. Vermillion still trailed 2-1 going into its last at-bat.�? Andrew Eidem drew a walk, stole second and was wild-pitched to third. He immediately scored the tying run on Cory Taggartâ�?�?s outfield fly. In the extra frame Moore retired Parkstonâ�?�?s first two batters, but three singles, a walk and a wild pitch permitted three Parkston runs to score. Post 1 put two men on base with two out in the bottom of the inning but couldnâ�?�?t bring them around. Parkston starter Troy Alley allowed only three hits in six-plus innings and reliever Brady Nolz only one in his two innings of pitching.�? The four hits were divided among Kyle Olsen, Reid Meierkort, Kyle Nemec and Taggart.