A tense 1-1 pitching struggle came down to one moment of truth for the Vermillion Red Sox in Yankton Tuesday night, and Tyler Candor rose to the occasion with a two-run double that propelled the Sox to within one game of state Class "A" tournament play.
The Red Sox with the win moved into a Thursday night game in Vermillion against the Yankton Tappers. The winner of that game clinched a state tourney berth while the loser has another chance at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Friday) against the Sioux Falls Saints for another state tourney slot.
The first round of state "A" tournament play will be in Yankton next weekend with the survivors there advancing to Sioux Falls the following weekend.
Brad Donovan pitched for the Red Sox Tuesday night against the Saints until the eighth, and Charlie Benz closed the door on them in the top of the ninth once his team had acquired the 3-1 lead. Mike Archer was the Sioux Falls starter and threw equally well. The winning runs came off his reliever, Kevin Chappenko, who entered the game in the seventh.
The Red Sox had taken a 1-0 lead back in the second inning on Drew Benton's RBI single, but the Saints got it right back in the top of the third. The game stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth when Robin Chute and Dan Hansen reached base and were scored by Candor's big blow.
In their final regular-season game last week the Red Sox were shut out by the Sioux City Saints, 3-0. Garrett Linhardt pitched seven innings and Ken Longman the final two for the Sox, whose regular-season record leveled off at 9-9.