Vermillion concludes the high school baseball regular season with a pair of home games this weekend at Prentis Park to set the stage for the regional playoffs scheduled to begin at the end of next week.
The Tanagers host Wagner tonight (Friday) and entertain Bon Homme-Menno-Scotland Saturday. In each case the JV game starts at 5 p.m. with the varsity to follow at 7 p.m.
In three games last week Vermillion won twice and lost a one-run decision, entering this final week of the regular season with an overall record of 7-5. The Tanagers dominated at Beresford, 24-11, in a wind-driven slugfest that featured six total home runs, and won on Sunday at Corsica against Corsica-Stickney-Armour, 10-4. In between they lost in Tabor to Bon Homme-Menno-Scotland, 5-4.
The Tanagers scored eight runs in the top of the first at Beresford, a margin which on any other night might have been a safe lead, but that was not the case on a night when the wind was blowing out. The eight-run explosion featured Denny Kainrath's first-ever home run.
Later in the game Nick Anglin slammed two grand slam homers for a total of eight runs batted in. Brian Hansen earned the pitching win.
Against the Bon Homme team the Tanagers faced a 5-0 deficit after the home team put together a four-run third on a combination of a single, two walks, two balks, a fielder's choice and the key blow, a two-run double by designated hitter Kodi Larson.
The Tanagers cut the gap to 5-2 in the fourth when Hansen and Chayse Meierkort led off with singles. One run scored on Sam Ekstrom's infield grounder, and the other on Anglin's solid single.
Two more Tanager runs scored in the fifth on a single by D'Andre Fore, Jason Rasmussen's RBI double, and Hansen's RBI single. VHS stranded the tying and lead runners on base in that inning.
Ekstrom, taking the mound in relief of starter Tyler Husby for the bottom of the fifth, kept Bon Homme off the scoreboard in his two innings of work. However, Bon Homme reliever Brian Bartlett did the same to the Tanagers, striking out four men in the sixth and seventh. Husby, down to his last strike with two out in the seventh, worked Bartlett for a walk to give VHS a chance, but a foul pop-up ended the game with the tying run stranded.
Vermillion had another first-inning outburst in Corsica, scoring six in that inning and three more in the third.
Hansen, the Tanager starter, allowed only one C-S-A run in his five innings of work to get another pitching victory. Reliever Anglin finished the game on the mound.
Anglin was also 3-for-4 at the plate, and Rasmussen was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
The Vermillion JV's starter, Nile Morecraft, pitched a strong game in the Tanagers' 6-1 win over Bon Homme, scattering only three hits in five innings. The big hits for VHS offensively were a two-run single by Tanner Settles in the second and a two-run single by Colin Bertram in the fifth.