Beresford's leadoff batter, Collin Peterson, homered over the fence in deep left-center field Monday night in the opening game of the Region 1B high school baseball playoffs. From that point on, it was pretty much smooth sailing for the Watchdogs in an 11-4 victory over Vermillion.
The Tanagers' season came to an abrupt end with an 8-7 record. They and Beresford evenly split four games this spring, but the Watchdogs won the one that mattered most, starting with Peterson's bomb.
The Tanagers got early indication that perhaps things were going to go Beresford's way in their first two at-bats as well. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the first, VHS put two men at the corners on singles by Jason Rasmussen and Brian Hansen. Chayse Meierkort hit a sharp grounder headed to right field, but second-baseman Dillon Anderson dived to his left to snare the ball, then threw from his knees to nip Meierkort at first and end the threat.
Vermillion's leadoff man in the second, Sam Ekstrom, reached on an error. The next batter, Denny Kainrath, in a bunt attempt popped the ball into the air in front of the mound. Pitcher Dan Frieberg dived to catch the ball in the air, and his throw to first doubled up Ekstrom.
And that's the way it continued for the Tanagers.
Beresford scored in six of the seven innings, increasing its lead to 7-0 through the middle of the fifth. The Tanagers had a glimmer of hope when they scored two runs in their half of the fifth on Nick Anglin's double, a walk, a sacrifice by D'Andre Fore, an infield error and an RBI single by Tyler Husby. VHS was back within 7-2.
But the home team's hope immediately vanished when Beresford answered with two more runs in the sixth and still two more in the seventh.
Vermillion scored its third run in the sixth when Ekstrom singled, advanced on an error and crossed the plate on a wild pitch. The fourth run came on a combination of an infield out, a single by Ekstrom, a passed ball and a wild pitch in the seventh. The Tanagers had the bases loaded when the game ended and had, in fact, stranded six additional runners in the three previous innings.
Ekstrom had three of the Tanagers' eight hits. Dillon Anderson had four of Beresford's 13 base knocks with Peterson, Jordan Powell, Matt Hoines and Nathan Ivarsen getting two apiece. Powell and Ivarsen each had a pair of RBIs.
Brian Hansen started on the hill for Vermillion and was relieved by Husby in the midst of a three-run Beresford fifth. Watchdog starter Frieberg threw six innings, and Dillon Anderson pitched the seventh.
Coach Jason Gault's VHS ballclub loses Rasmussen, Anglin, Ekstrom, Kainrath and Hansen to graduation.