Vermillion's Post 1 American Legion baseball club faces a rare free weekend, but they had better enjoy it because next week will be a challenge.
Post 1, after going 2-2 in this past weekend's ninth annual Lewis & Clark Wood Bat Classic, will be home at Prentis Park Monday against Corsica at 6 p.m., followed by a trip to Elk Point for a 6 p.m. doubleheader Tuesday. On Wednesday the Vermillion club goes to Mitchell to play a doubleheader at 5 p.m. at the site of the upcoming state Legion championship tournament in August.
After one day off next Thursday, the team will be in Waterloo and Valley, NE, for three games in three days against Syracuse, NE; Waterloo-Valley and Nebraska City.
Post 1 – 5, O'Neill 3
The opener of the Lewis & Clark classic found Vermillion building up a 5-1 lead heading into the final inning, then holding on as O'Neill scored two in the final inning and ran itself out of a potential game-tying rally.
The Post 1 defense was superb, nabbing four O'Neill runners on the basepaths. Two of them came on assists from D'Andre Fore in center field and another from J.R. Moore in left. The fourth was picked off by pitcher Brian Hansen and chased down in a rundown.
Vermillion scored in the first when Fore walked, was sacrificed to second by Jason Rasmussen, was moved to third on Cory Taggart's hit and scored on a catcher's error.
In the fourth Grant Lueders' single was followed by a costly catcher's throwing error on Zach McDonald's grounder. Fore came through with an RBI hit, Rasmussen successfully sacrificed again, and Taggart again drove in a run.
Lueders' booming triple in the fifth scored Moore, who had been moved along by a Tyler Husby sacrifice.
In the sixth Rasmussen manufactured a run when he singled and scored on a balk caused by his bothersome baserunning, a stolen base and a wild pitch.
Hansen pitched into the fifth inning, allowing only two hits and walking three. Rasmussen relieved and allowed five hits and one walk while striking out one.
Seven different Vermillion players had hits.
Post 1 – 5, Sturgis 0
Kyle Nemec threw a seven-inning no-hitter, striking out six and walking five, to highlight the final game of the Lewis & Clark tourney's first day.
At shortstop Rasmussen had an amazing accumulation of five assists and three put-outs. He and Lueders teamed up on a great play in the sixth to preserve the no-hitter, Rasmussen making a difficult stop going to his right, then firing to first where Lueders made a tremendous scoop of the ball out of the dirt.
After stranding runners galore through the first four innings, Post 1 scored three in the fifth, starting with pinchhitter McDonald's bunt for a basehit. Fore had a bunt hit, Rasmussen a single, Taggart a sacrifice fly and Nemec an RBI hit.
In the sixth Taggart's two-run single scored Fore, who had bunted for a hit, and Rasmussen, who had walked.
In the top of the seventh Sturgis loaded the bases on an error and two walks, but Nemec got the last batter of his no-hitter on a ground ball successfully played by second-baseman Husby.
Groton 2, Post 1 – 1
With dreams of reaching Sunday's semifinals very much alive, Post 1 sustained a gut-wrenching loss to Groton.
Vermillion's run came in the second when Hansen single, went to second on Moore's sacrifice and to third on Husby's hit, and scored on Scott Iverson's sacrifice fly.
Post 1 stranded eight men in the first five innings, including leaving the bases full in the fifth.
Taggart was on the mound and did everything he could to pitch Post 1 to a perfect record in the tourney. Through six innings he allowed only two hits, both in the third. His defense helped a great deal. In the first Hansen at third base speared a line drive and doubled a Sturgis man off second base. In the third right-fielder Lueders made a long run to make a great catch of a foul ball curving away from him. And with the bases loaded for Sturgis later in that same inning, Moore in left field made a rolling, diving catch for the third out to save at least two runs from scoring.
Vermillion took that 1-0 lead into the final inning, needing three outs for victory, but a walk, a single and an infield error allowed Groton to tie the score, and an infield grounder brought in the lead run.
In the bottom of the seventh Fore walked, and Rasmussen sacrificed him to second, but a great catch in right field by Sturgis and a fly to center ended the game.
Groton won with only three hits while Post 1 garnered only four base knocks, two by Lueders and one each by Rasmussen and Hansen.
Blair 4, Post 1 – 0
The Blair, NE, team won the championship of the Vermillion pool of the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record, and that was the score by which the Bears defeated Vermillion Saturday night.
Andrew Pierce went the distance for Blair, walking two and allowing only four Vermillion hits – a double by Taggart and singles by Lueders, Moore and Hansen. Post 1 stranded six runners.
Nick Anglin did a great job on the mound for Post 1, retiring the first nine men in faced. He gave up one run on three hits in the fourth but struck out the last two men to keep the game at 1-0.
Blair made it 2-0 with two hits and an infield grounder in the sixth. They then got two insurance runs in the seventh on a two-run single by Matt Juroski off reliever Husby, who then retired the next two men to end that inning.
Pierce finished strong, striking out three of the last four Vermillion batters.
Post 1 finished the weekend with a 4-3 record for the season to that point.