This Week in Greysox Baseball By Joe â�?�?MOJOâ�? Reiser This week the Vermillion Greysox started a long and strong march to the State "B" Baseball Tourney. On Wednesday, July 22, the Greysox hit the road for Canton, in the opening round of the District 7 playoffs. The men of Grey had something to prove, having a less than sound regular season. A woeful record of four wins and eight losses was leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the players. Manager Ryan Baedke handed the ball to Ryan Bak for the opening night tilt. Bak would take the ball and seize the day as he shut down the Canton offense for the first four innings. Canton did mount a scoring push as second baseman Devin Skiles hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning. Canton only managed one more run for the game. Bak struck out 13 batters, six of them looking at the third strike. The strike out highlight came in the seventh inning when Bak fanned the three, four and five hitters, all swinging, to retire the side in order. For the evening Bak threw a nine-inning complete game, gave up three runs on eight hits and, as previously stated, 13 strike outs. "The defense played solid and we got the bats working," said Bak, after the game. The offense for the Greysox was started in the first inning by Bak and left fielder, Reid Meierkort who each banged singles. But no runs would cross in the first or second inning. The third inning was a different case. Lead off hitter and center fielder Jeff "Fleet" Gilbertson, did his best Ricky Henderson impression by cranking a solo blast over the left field fence. Kyle Mollet followed with a single and Bak powered out a two-run blast to make the score 3-0 for the Greysox. The Greysox bats were relatively quiet until the sixth inning , when Shae Williams lead off with a walk and was followed by a Jason "Dietarow" Dietrich two run round tripper. In the seventh, Gilbertson lead off with a single, stole second, was sacrificed to third by Kyle Mollet and scored on another Bak single. The Greysox would tighten the noose by scoring five times in the eighth. At game's end, the Grey had 11 runs on 12 hits. Jeff Gilbertson was 3 for 5 with a homer, three stolen bases, three runs scored and one RBI, and as always some spectacular fielding in center. Reid Meierkort had a double and a single. Kyle Mollet chipped in with two singles and two runs scored. But, this night belonged to Ryan Bak. For his three singles, one dinger, two runs, four RBIs and a complete game, 13-strike out performance … drum roll please … Ryan Bak was named the "Bud Light Player of the Game." The celebration was short lived as the Greysox road tasks would get more ferocious. The District 7 Tourney moved to State Line League Champion, Larchwood, IA. On Sunday afternoon, July 26, the Greysox team's next foe was the home-standing Larchwood Diamonds. The Diamonds blew away the rest of the league during the regular season. The 2 p.m. start saw manager Ryan Baedke hand the ball to Mike Moran. It was more like giving some small stones to a young David, whose task was to slay this hometown Goliath. In the top of the first inning, center fielder "Fleet" Gilbertson lead off with a line shot that was caught by the third baseman. Left fielder Reid Meierkort singled up the middle, shortstop Ryan Bak tripled to score Meierkort for the first run. Old pal, Brandon White (fresh off of his coaching stint with the Harrisburg Legion team) drew a walk. Then right fielder Shae Williams forced White and beat out the double play throw. Next up was Ryan Baedke, doing double duty as DH and manager. Baedke deposited a 1-0 fastball over the left field fence to make the score Greysox 4 and Larchwood coming to bat. Moran retired the first batter on a ground ball to second baseman Aaron Baedke. The next Diamond batter doubled to right, followed by a hit batter. The next two Larchwood batters would each drive in a run. The first with a hit and the scond on a sac fly to right . Moran faced eight men and wriggled off the hook with the score Greysox 4 to Larchwood's 2, at the end of the first. Aaron Baedke lead off the second with a single, but that is all the Greysox offense would mount as Larchwood starting pitcher, Brett Waltner would retire the next nine batters in order. Moran would heroically battle into the fifth inning. Backed by solid defense, timely outs, and a few visits from the manager, Moran scattered six hits, three runs and struck out two in four-and one-third innings. Some early defensive gems came in the second and third innings. In the second, with runners at first and third, the runner broke to steal second. Dietrich fired the ball to second baseman Baedke who fired it back to home to cut down the runner trying to steal home. In the third, Larchwood second baseman Jon Underberg singled, moved over to second on a hot shot to third that was snatched by White at third and scooped by first baseman Brett Mockler. The next batter hit a ground ball to short where Bak vacuumed it up and to Bak's amazement, Underberg tried to take third. Bak threw over to White who slapped the tag on for a rally stopping out at third. White took over for Moran on the mound, which precipitated the moves of Mockler to third and Ryan Baedke to first. That makes three different jobs for Baedke. White scattered seven hits and gave up one run in his four-and-two-thirds innings and was awarded the win. The defense was more than solid as Bak to Baedke to Baedke stopped a potential rally in the sixth. Aaron Baedke rolled a double play in the seventh as he fielded the ball, stepped on second and threw over to first, where his brother stretched for another out. Larchwood stayed scoreless until the ninth, when DH Jake Schoening hit a two-pitch over the left field fence to cut the score to Greysox 9 and Larchwood 4. That would be the final as as after the next man got on, another double play from White to Bak to Ryan Baedke at first squelched the rally. Two more Diamonds got on base but Jeff "Fleet" Gilbertson hauled in the final fly to center. Everyone was cited for a well-played game on defense. "Gilby's sliding catches and all the double plays really gave us a lift," said catcher Jason Dietrich. Dietrich had two singles on the day, Bak pitched in with a triple and a double. The "Bud Light Player of the Game" was awarded to Ryan Baedke for his homer, two singles, four RBIs and one run scored. (Not to mention his three jobs). So, The Greysox move into the championship game against Garretson on Tuesday night. The Greysox will be playing ball as this story goes to press. I would take time to remind that the win over Larchwood ensures the Greysox of a berth in the state baseball tourney. I would also like to congratulate the Legion Post #1 on their victory at the state tourney in Platte. Some of the members of that Legion team will be called up to play with the Greysox. I would also like to congratulate the 13- and 14- year-old Teeners on their state tourney victory in Elk Point. There you have it folks … I know it was a long article, but the great baseball being played around the state by Vermillion teams is "FANTASTIC" and I just can't get enough of it. So, bye for now. Thanks, "MOJO."
By Travis Gulbrandson firstname.lastname@example.org Al Neuharth is remembered around the world as a legend in the field of journalism … Read Article