After a pair of preseason games in Sioux City Sunday, Vermillion will open high school baseball play tonight (Friday) at North Sioux City in a doubleheader of non-league contests against Dakota Valley.
The varsity will play at 5 p.m. with the JVs to follow about 7 p.m.
On Sunday the home season opens at Prentis Park with a rugged Beresford club as the opponent in the varsity game at 1 p.m. The JV game will follow. Next Friday the Tanagers go back to Dakota Valley, this time for games that count in the league standings.
It was obvious Sunday in a doubleheader against the American Legion Sioux City Bancrofts that the Tanagers have some work to do in the batting cage to get into shape for the league season. They had plenty of baserunners, most of them on walks, but stranded 19 runners in the 14 innings played in the two seven-inning games, mainly because 23 of the Tanagers' 42 outs in those 14 innings came on strikeouts.
The Sioux City team won the opener, 8-4, and took the nightcap, 11-2.
In the first four innings of the early game the Tanagers were the benefactors of seven bases on balls, but all of them stayed on base because nobody could get a hit. Ten of the first 12 Vermillion outs were strikeouts.
Cody Sommervold's leadoff single in the fifth was the Tanagers' first base hit of the season, and another batter walked in that same inning, but a double play and an infield force ended that threat.
Meanwhile the Bancrofts, who had led only 2-0, scored five runs in the fourth to break the game open.
Vermillion's first run came in the sixth when Zach McDonald walked, went to second on Scott Iverson's single and scored on a ringing double by Stormy Mirtz. The Tanagers closed the final deficit to four with three seventh-inning runs. A Tanner Settles single drove in one, the next scored on a pitcher's throwing error to home plate, and the third scored on McDonald's single.
Starting pitcher Tyler Husby struck out three, walked two and allowed only one hit during his three-inning tenure on the mound. Nate Garrett threw two innings and Chayse Meierkort one. Despite scoring eight runs, Sioux City managed only five hits off the three VHS hurlers, and the Tanagers also had five base knocks.
The Tanagers had at least one hit and one walk in each of the first five innings of the second game of the doubleheader but straneed nine runners over those five stanzas. One run scored in the third when Settles walked, went to second on a wild pitch and was brought home by McDonald's RBI single. The other tally came in the fifth when Tanner Anderson walked, went all the way to third on a beautiful bunt basehit by Settles and scored on a wild pitch.
The Bancrofts collected 14 hits in the second-game victory, which was lopsided at the end but deceivingly so. Their lead was only 4-2 in the middle of the fifth inning before they broke the contest open with two runs in that inning and five more in the sixth.
VHS pitching duties were spread among starter Nile Morecraft and relievers Robert Osterberg and Collin Bertram.
Besides McDonald's run-scoring hit, Settles had two hits and Mirtz and Iverson one apiece.