15-16 Teeners fall to Tyndall rally Monday By Parker Knox
Sportswriter Vermillion's 15-16 Teeners were four innings away from a berth in their state tournament, holding a 2-0 lead over Tyndall after three innings of their regional championship game at Prentis Park Monday night. But Tyndall staged a late-game rally, scoring three runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth, and won the title, 6-2, advancing to this weekend's state event at Garretson. It has been said that great pitching will stop great hitting, and Tyndall is evidence of that. Their hurlers limited Vermillion to two hits over the final 12 innings played between the two clubs Sunday and Monday nights. After winning on the first two nights of the tournament early last week over Parkston and Dakota Valley, Vermillion had two days off because of one night of rain and another night of losers-bracket games. Finally on Friday Vermillion and Tyndall, the two remaining unbeaten teams, got together to see who would advance straight to the championship contest. This was a classic tournament-time nail-biter. Vermillion, coached by Glenn McDonald and Troy Garrett, trailed 1-0 after a half-inning but scored three in the first and three more in the second for a 6-1 lead. That quickly disappeared with a four-run Tyndall third. The game stayed 6-5 until the bottom of the sixth when Will Mart, with teammates on third and second, hit a troublesome bouncer over the mound to score a run. It proved to be a run Vermillion desperately needed. The two-run lead dwindled to one in the top of the seventh. But the game ended with a flourish. With Tyndall's tying run at second base and two out, Vermillion reliever Tyler Husby struck out Blaise Vanecek to end it and send Vermillion to the title game. On Sunday Tyndall and Elk Point-Jefferson clashed for the other championship-game berth, and Tyndall prevailed, 13-6. The Tyndall club lived dangerously and would have lost if it were not for a potential game-ending dropped flyball by EPJ that opened the floodgates. So Vermillion and Tyndall went at it again, and this time it appeared early to be a potential blowout. With the help of walks and several Tyndall errors, Vermillion posted a seven-run first inning, the last pair of runs coming on a clutch Wes McBride single. Vermillion led 9-2 after two innings. From that point on, however, Tyndall's Doug Vanecek shut down the Vermillion bats, especially at clutch moments. Vermillion couldn't score in a bases-loaded situation and also had men at second and third one time but couldn't get anybody home. Meanwhile, Tyndall began chipping away. Starting pitcher Zach McDonald gave way in the third to Jerod Ceretti, who struggled through a three-run third and into a two-run fourth. Mitch Brown was brought in as a second reliever and finished the game. Tyndall, however, after getting to within 9-7, found Texas League bloop singles to be their weapon of choice. Chipping in hit after hit just beyond the infielders and well short of the outfielders, they went ahead with three in the sixth, 10-9, and added three insurance runs in the seventh for a 13-9 victory that forced a second championship tilt. There Vermillion's inability to hit Tyndall pitching continued, and the eventual champions matched the previous game in that they overcame an early deficit and pulled away at the end, applying a disappointing finish to the Vermillion Teeners' season.