This Week in Greysox Baseball

This Week in Greysox Baseball By Joe â�?�?MOJOâ�? Reiser Well folks, as you probably know, the Vermillion Greysox tried their collective hands at the SD Class "B" State Tourney in Mitchell on Thursday, Aug. 6. The 5:30 p.m. start time was washed away by a steady diet of rain and waiting. This is now my cue to praise the grounds crew at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. Wow, what a group. The rains pelted the area for nearly four hours. There were puddles everywhere, and the field was very wet. I watched as the grounds keepers spread a magic dust on the field. Now I know the dust is called "Diamond Dust" and the crew spread a lot of this sandy powder around the bases and over the batters box and pitchers mound. Well, we actually got a chance to play a game four-and-a-half hours after the original start time. The Greysox opponents were the Cardinals of Mt. Vernon. Those guys live a stones throw from the ball park so, I assume there was little inconvenience for the home team. Well, our team warmed up and we were introduced to a smattering of applause and to my shock, the other team had about as many fans as the Greysox. Maybe I didn't really notice or maybe the fans all went back to their comfy and dry homes … who could blame them. Uh … I digress. The game was a real gem to watch. It was a real pitchers' battle for the first six innings. Lefty Kevin Bliel did a bang-up job of scattering three hit and no walks threw the first five innings. Unfortunately for the Greysox, right handed Tyson Paulson of Mt. Vernon was even tougher. Paulson struck out eight Sox batters in the first five innings. Reid Meierkort slapped a single in the fourth and Kyle Mollet reached on an error in the fifth, for the only extra marks on the score sheet. The top of the sixth commenced with Aaron Baedke and Meierkort reaching on back to back singles. Right fielder, Shae Williams was out swinging for the first out. Shortstop Ryan Bak flew out to left for the second out. DH Ryan Baedke singled, which loaded the bases, but catcher Jason Dietrich was caught looking by an outside pitch that needed another zip code to be in the strike zone. (Just so you know, I do consider myself biased in the favor of the Greysox). The top of the sixth was over, with runners standing at each base. The bottom of the sixth started off with a nice fielding play by Aaron Baedke for out number one. Bliel went to 0 and 2 on the Card catcher named Kitchens. Kitchens nubbed a bleeder in to short center for a lucky hit. The Mt. Vernon center fielder then came up and doubled to left, scoring the anemic run and breaking the ice. Mitchell native and right fielder Chris Dennis flew out to left for the second out. Then third baseman Spencer Sudbeck pounded a hit to left, plating the Card's second run. The next hitter popped out to Baedke at second to retire the side. At the end of six innings the score was Mt. Vernon, 2 Greysox 0. Now, I know some of these Sox players pretty well, and they are not the type of guys that just roll over and die. Mollet started the seventh with a hot grounder to second base, which turned into an error. Jeff "Fleet" Gilbertson followed suit by also reaching on a speed induced error. The runners moving to second and third on the missed ball at first. Mike Moran fouled out to the catcher for out number one. Aaron Baedke grounded out to the second baseman to drive in the first Greysox tally. Meierkort pounded a ball to short which was bobbled for another error, scoring Gilbertson. Williams banged a shot to left, which was misplayed and scoring Meierkort. Bak followed with a shot to short that was once again bobbled, but unfortunately the Greysox inning came to a close on a swinging strike out by Ryan Baedke. Ah, at the seventh inning stretch the Greysox had the lead 3-2 with the help of five errors by Mt. Vernon.  The bottom of the seventh started with USD club player Cassius Kocer singling and moving to second base on an error. Kocer moved to third as first baseman Moran made the first out on an unassisted play at first. Another USD club team player, Chase Hetland, then flew out to Williams in right. Kocer tagged at third and was gunned down by a rocket from the arm of Williams, for the third out. Wow, what a lift. At the end of seven complete, the score was Greysox 3, Cardinals 2. The eighth inning for the Greysox started with back-to-back strike outs from relief pitcher Shawn Delaney. Dietrich was caught looking and Brett Mockler, who replaced Mollet at third, was out swinging. Fleet Gilbertson singled, but was left on base as Moran went down swinging. In the home half of the eighth things wouldn't go so easily. The catcher Kitchens popped out to Mockler at third. Cards center fielder Larson doubled, the next guy got a free pass on Bliel's first walk of the night. Sudbeck lined a hard shot off of Mockler's arm, which loaded the bases and left a giant welt on Mockler's arm. Mt. Vernon left fielder then flew out to left and tied the game at 3-3 with the sacrifice. Kocer singled on a bleeder to center field to push in what would be the game winning run. The Greysox got the next man out and headed to the 9th inning needing a run. Aaron Baedke drew a walk. Brooks Little was substituted for his speed. Meierkort also drew a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. Williams was caught looking at strike three and Bak and Ryan Baedke both went down swinging. The game was over and so was the season. The Greysox team was left to a two-hour-plus ride back to Vermillion.  Mt. Vernon pitchers combined to strike out 17 Greysox batters. The last seven outs were all by strike out. When I look back at the game, we didn't hit the ball like we usually do. I thought the ball was hard to see, but that was true for both teams. From the fans perspective, this was a great game. It was much more interesting than the 10-run win by Dell Rapids Mudcats on the other field. For me, it was a chance to put on the uniform of the Greysox and stand on the first base line with the men that battled to represent our community. It was a chance to know that all of these players, old, young and in-between, gave it their all. On this night it left our Greysox one run short of moving on to the second round. But understand folks, our town has just supplied the future with a state championship Legion team. The future looks bright for Vermillion baseball. So, Congrats to all the players at every level. You play America's game. And for the most part, you play it at a very high level. Until next time, thanks. MOJO.

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