15-16 Teeners will host regional tourney By Parker Knox
Sportswriter Postseason baseball comes to Vermillion next week when the 15-16 Teeners play host to their regional tournament at Prentis Park. The six-team affair gets underway Monday night, and Vermillion will play Parkston in the second game that evening. The winner gets Dakota Valley, which has a first-round bye, later in the week. There will be two games each evening Monday through Thursday with a championship game on Friday and another championship game, if necessary, on Saturday. The tourney champion advances to the state tournament in Garretson the following week. Vermillion 8-10, DV 7-2 Baseball sometimes is a funny game — funny, in this case, meaning strange and unpredictable. Take, for example, last Thursday night when Vermillion's 15-16 Teeners seemed destined to lose both games to Dakota Valley and managed instead to win them both. In the first game, scheduled to go six innings, Dakota Valley was cruising, leading 6-1 after 4 1/2 innings. The only home team score up to that point had come in the third when Zach McDonald singled home D'Andre Fore, who had walked and stolen second base. But Fore's one-out double and a walk to McDonald set the table for Vermillion, and the DV shortstop served up dinner, throwing wildly to first on an infield ground ball off Scott Iverson's bat, allowing two runners to score. Moments later, the Panther catcher tried to nail Iverson at third and fired the ball down the left-field line. Down by only two, Vermillion scored the two tying runs in the sixth on RBI singles by Wes McBride and Tyler Husby. The home team also got the winning run as far as third base but couldn't get him home, so the game went to extra innings. Each team gave each other an unearned run on a catcher's throwing error in the seventh. Pitcher Robert Osterberg retired DV in the eighth.In the bottom of the inning Fore reached second on another shortstop error, stole second, and scored the winning run on another McDonald hit. Vermillion won it, 8-7. Osterberg gave up 11 hits but kept eight Dakota Valley baserunners stranded. He struck out six and, most importantly, walked none. Meanwhile, DV pitchers allowed six walks, but the larger factor was the five Panther errors. McDonald and Husby finished with two hits each with Fore and McBride getting the other two of Vermillion's total of six. The second game, scheduled for five innings, was also a strange one. Dakota Valley led 1-0 through three innings. Stormy Mirtz, in relief of starter Nate Garrett who struck out four and allowed only two hits in three innings of pitching, struck out the side in the fourth. DV pitcher J.P. Peterson, who himself had struck out the Vermillion side the previous inning, suddenly lost control in the bottom of the fourth. The first 10 Vermillion batters all reached base safely, and all scored. Caleb Miller's single plated the first run, and Andy McCann was hit with a pitch while the bases were loaded to give Vermillion a 2-1 lead. A balk scored the next run. Iverson delivered the biggest blow of the game, clearing the bases with a three-run double. Fore with a single, Husby with a triple and Will Mart with an infield grounder also drove in runs before the third DV pitcher of the inning finally retired the side. DV scored one run in its final at-bat, but Vermillion won it, 10-2. Canton 3, Vermillion 1 The Teeners couldn't carry over the magic of Thursday night to Saturday afternoon in Canton. C-Hawks pitcher Luke Myrabo held Vermillion to five hits and only one run while striking out six and walking three. The only Vermillion came when McBride led off the third with a single, was sacrificed to second by Fore and scored on McDonald's single. Husby was the tough-luck losing pitcher for Vermillion. Though he gave up only six hits and struck out an amazing 12 batters of Canton's 18 outs, Canton's lead run in the fourth and insurance run in the sixth both crossed the plate on wild pitches. Beresford 7, Vermillion 0 The Vermillion offense was almost completely shut down in the other game at Canton Saturday. Beresford pitcher Colin Peterson allowed only two hits — a second-inning single by Mirtz and a sixth-inning double by Husby while striking out five and walking two. Beresford got more than enough runs in the second inning alone when three walks, two singles and a grand-slam homer by pitcher Peterson made it 6-0. The winners scored once more in the third. Vermillion ran itself out of potential rallies, losing runners at third base on two occasions. About the only highlight was provided by Mirtz, playing right field, when he fielded a long single and fired a strike to second-baseman McBride to erase the batter trying to stretch his hit into a double. McDonald pitched two-plus innings, Jered Ceretti three and Mirtz one inning for Vermillion. Earlier last week the Vermillion club went to Garretson, site of this year's state tournament, and took part in a pair of pitching duels. Garretson took the opener, 3-0, but Vermillion came back to win the nightcap, 1-0.