Locked in a 4-4 deadlock with Yankton through 3 1/2 innings Sunday, the Vermillion High School baseball team saw the season opener get away from them.
The Bucks sent 15 men to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ten of them scored, providing Yankton with a 10-run 14-4 advantage which reliever Derek Nelson quickly put to good use by retiring the Tanagers in order in the top of the fifth. That ended the game abruptly via the 10-run rule.
After playing at Dakota Valley last night, the Tanagers will continue the new season at Parkston on Monday. A junior varsity game is set to start at 2 p.m. with the varsity contest to follow at 4. Vermillion's home openers on April 11-12 are still more than a week away.
Coach Jason Gault's Tanagers took the early lead Sunday with a first-inning run. Tyler Husby coaxed a two-out walk off Yankton starter Josh Teichroew. Brian Hansen's ringing hit sent Husby to third, and he kept going to score when the ball escaped an outfielder.
The Bucks jumped ahead 4-1 in their half of the first with a four-hit outburst. Key hits were a two-run double by Zach Johnson, an RBI double by Nick Davis and a run-scoring triple by Cody Ulmer.
The Tanagers got one of those runs back in their second when Scott Iverson was hit by a pitch and went to second on a wild pitch. Denny Kainrath's infield hit moved Iverson along, and Sam Ekstrom's sacrifice fly produced the run.
VHS starter Hansen, who struck out five men in his two innings on the mound, got the Bucks in order in the second. The Tanagers then immediately tied the game with a two-run third. D'Andre Fore's leadoff single was followed by Jason Rasmussen's run-scoring double. A sacrifice by Husby and an infield grounder off Hansen's bat gave Vermillion its tying run.
Husby relieved Hansen to start Yankton's third inning. Despite three bases on balls,the Bucks did not score, thanks to catacher Iverson's throwing out a potential base stealer at second base and to a spectacular diving catch by center-fielder Fore on a hard-hit drive headed toward the ball and curving away from the outfielder.
The Tanagers lost a run at the plate in their fourth when the tail end of a double-steal attempt didn't work, but it wouldn't have mattered because the Bucks teed off in the bottom of the fourth Fourteen of the inning's 15 batters reached base on a combination of seven hits, three walks, one error and a hit batter.
The 10-run inning might have been worse had it not been for a pair of sparkling defensive plays by veteran shortstop Rasmussen. He made a diving stop of a ball hit to his right and recovered in time to force a baserunner headed toward second base. Later he took a relay from the outfield and fired a strike to Iverson covering the plate to nail an oncoming Buck runner there.
Fore, Rasmussen, Hansen and Kainrath accounted for the Tanagers' four basehits, all off starter Teichroew. Picking up in the win in relief was Heath Arens, who pitched the fourth and thus was the pitcher of record when the Bucks took their permanent lead.
Johnson finished with three hits and four runs batted in to lead the Yankton offense. Davis and Steven Stanage had two hits apiece.
Yankton won Sunday's JV game by an 12-4 count. Colin Bertram had two hits and Fore and Chayse Meierkort one hit each for Vermillion.
The Tanagers also lost a freshman-sophomore game, 8-1.