The Vermillion baseball season officially ended Sunday when the last team still playing –the 15-16 VFW Teeners – concluded their last of three games in their state tournament at Wagner.
Vermillion lost a tough 8-5 decision to Chamberlain in Friday's first round, rebounded behind a complete-game shutout pitching performance by Collin Bertram to oust Garretson 3-0 in Saturday's consolation semifinal, and dropped a 6-3 game to Milbank in Sunday's battle for fifth-place honors.
Hitting leaders for Vermillion in the state tourney games were Chayse Meierkort, going 5-for-11 for a .455 average; Tanner Settles' 3-for-7 performance at .429; Nate Garrett's .400 average (4-for-10); Mitch Brown's 4-for-11 (.364) and Caleb Miller's 3-for-10 (.300). Cody Sommervold had two hits and Tanner Anderson one in the three games at Wagner.
In the early going in Friday's opener Vermillion had a 2-1 lead after Settles' walk and Garrett's single started a two-run rally. A potential double-play ball off Miller's bat was transformed into a run-scoring error by the Chamberlain infield. Sommervold's single and Cody Olson's walk loaded the bases, so when Bertram was hit with a pitch, Vermillion's second run crossed the plate.
Chamberlain got to starter Garrett with a five-run third to take a 6-2 lead and added two more scores in the fourth to go up by 8-2. Vermillion cut that deficit in half with a three-run fifth. Brown and Settles singled, and when both men were set into motion as a pitch sailed in to Garrett, they both scored when the Chamberlain third-baseman overthrew first base. Miller plated another run with an RBI single.
Garrett was followed to the mound by Meierkort and Joe Mazour, the latter throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings to finish the game. Five bases on balls and three hit batters contributed to Vermillion's downfall although the team outhit Chamberlain, 8-7. Brown and Miller had two hits apiece.
With Bertram doing his thing on the mound, Vermillion didn't need nearly so many runs on Saturday. He gave up not a single walk while striking out six and allowing four hits.
He had to work out of an early situation, however, when Garretson's first batter of the game tripled. He stayed on first base, however, as three successive teammates popped out to the Vermillion infield.
Vermillion had an early threat of its own, putting men at the corners with none out in the second but failing to score.
Settles singled in the fourth, was sacrificed to second by Garrett and scored when a ball hit by Miller was misplayed.
A pair of insurance runs scored in the sixth when Meierkort led off with a single. Settles' sacrifice bunt resulted in no out being secured by Garretson. Garrett singled to load the bases, and Miller came through with a two-run single for a 3-0 lead that was more than substantial for Bertram.
Meierkort claimed three of Vermillion's nine hits, and Garrett had a pair.
Just as Garretson had done a day earlier, Milbank got a triple from its very first batter in Sunday's game. That one scored, however, and the team added three runs on one hit in the second for a 4-0 hole out of which Vermillion tried to climb.
Vermillion got to within 4-3 on a three-run fourth inning. Brown and Meierkort singled to start it all, Garrett's single drove in one run, and two more crossed the plate on passed balls. Milbank centerfielder Seth Phillips was a thorn in Vermillion's side, making an outstanding catch on Settles' dying fly ball that prevented an even bigger inning.
Garrett pitched the first two innings for Vermillion, Mazour went the next four stanzas, giving up two runs in the sixth for the final 6-3 margin, and Meierkort pitched the final frame, shutting down Milbank without further damage. The staff gave up nine walks while only one Vermillion batter reached base by that method.
Meierkort had two of Vermillion's five hits.
Four players – Sommervold, Garrett, Miller and Mitch Ellison – concluded their Teener careers and will move on to the Post 1 American Legion team next summer while Anderson, Bertram, Brown, Garrett, Mazour, Meierkort, Olson and Settles comprise a solid lineup of sophomores who will still be eligible age-wise for Teener play in 2011.
This year's ballclub was coached by Bill Settles and Reid Meierkort. They finished with a record of 20-12.