Vermillion Blaze take runner-up title The Blaze started the tournament off playing the Brandon Crush and the Blaze were on fire. The Blaze wins 13 to 2 in five innings. Lizzy Bye was the winning pitcher striking out six batters and to help her cause, she hit a double and a triple. Behind the plate Sami Girard did an outstanding job calling the pitches. Offensively the Blaze's bats were hot. Shelby Christopherson and Emily McClelland each hit two singles while Lexi Regnerus hit a double and a single. Courtney Johnson was three for three at the plate hitting three singles. In game two the Blaze took on the Rapid City Flames (Red). The Flames led the game in the third inning two to one. In the fourth inning that lead comes to an end when Bye cracks a triple and Tory McCreary hits a single to score Bye. McCreary steals second and then gets moved around by McClelland and Regnerus. The Flames came back in the fifth and scored two runs to tie the game but the Blaze never gave up. In the sixth inning McCreary, McClelland and Regnerus all hit singles and were able to put two more runs on the score board. The Blaze was able to hold the Flames and didn't allow them to score again. The Blaze score one more time in the seventh. Sami Girard hit a single to start the inning followed by a single by Bye and Christopherson to score Girard. Other Blaze to get hits during the game were Johnson, Morgan Hueser and Rachel Mora. Blaze win 7-4 and Bye was the winning pitcher. In game three the Blaze go up against rival Sioux Falls Flash/Fury. Girard, Truhe, Christopherson and McClelland all hit singles and McCreary added a double, but that was not enough. The Blaze was held to only two runs while the Flash was able to score three runs defeating the Blaze 3-2. In game four, the Blaze moved to the loser's bracket to play the Brandon Crush for a second time. Girard started the game with a single followed by another single by Truhe. Bye hits a long fly ball to center field allowing Girard time to tag up and score a run before the Crush gets their three outs. Truhe, Hueser, and Regnerus all add runs during the next six innings. The Blaze defense did an amazing job only allowing two hits. The Blaze held the Crush to only one run winning the game 4-1 knocking the Crush out of the tournament. Bye was the winning pitcher striking out five with no walks. Game five was a rematch with the Rapid City Flames who were looking for revenge. The Blaze had a slow start and the Flames' bats were hot. In the third and fourth inning the Flames scored six runs leaving the Blaze behind by five runs going into the fifth inning. Johnson gets walked in the fifth inning followed by singles by Allison Mora, Girard, and Truhe to score three runs still leaving the Blaze down by two. The game came down to the bottom of the seventh inning Truhe hits a single, Bye added a double and Regnerus gets walked to load the bases. Two Blaze get out and the tension builds when Johnson gets up to bat and cracks one over the center fielders' head scoring the three runs and winning the game for the Blaze and sending the Flames back to Rapid City. Game six brings up another rematch against the Flash who sent the Blaze into the loser's bracket so they were looking to settle the score. The game was tied in the fifth inning 2-2. The Flash score in the sixth and the Blaze had one at bat left before time ran out. Bye was the first batter and hit a single, Regnerus and McCreary did the same leaving bases loaded again and Johnson up to bat. Johnson does it again hitting a double scoring three runs and winning the game putting the Blaze in the championship. Other Blaze to get hits were Girard with two singles, Truhe with a single, Regnerus with two singles and a double, McCreary with a single, Johnson with two doubles and Bye with three singles and the winning pitcher. In the championship game the Blaze had to go up against the undefeated Fusion Orange team. After three back to back games the Blaze ran out of steam. Bye, McCreary and Rachel Mora were the only Blaze able to get hits. The Blaze was only able to score one run not enough to beat the Fusion. The Blaze ended the tournament as the state runner-ups. Congratulations to all the players, parents and coaches for a great season.
By David Lias For most people in Vermillion, Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson have been merely images on newsprint. The … Read Article