What a difference two weeks can make!
Two weeks after a season-opening doubleheader loss in Sioux City where baserunners of any sort were hard to come by, Vermillion found its touch at the plate in a 21-2 five-inning bombardment of Dakota Valley Friday night in the league opener at North Sioux City.
On the second pitch of the game D'Andre Fore, who hadn't played in the openers, drove a monstrous home run over the center-field fence, a ball which might still be rolling toward Sioux City if a middle school building weren't in the way. That explosive start ignited the Tanagers into a 10-run first inning which also included a two-run homer by Zach McDonald.
The rout continued as every Tanager starter had at least one basehit.
"We did an excellent job of hitting with guys on base," said Coach Jason Gault. "It couldn't have been a more ideal way to get the jitters out of our young players."
Tyler Husby's two-run homer in the third was another major blast for the Tanagers. He drove in four runs for the day and scored five times. So did Chayse Meierkort who had a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate and drove in a pair.
Fore and McDonald both had three RBIs and two hits apiece. Tanner Settles, Scott Iverson and Cody Sommervold also had two hits apiece while Stormy Mirtz, Collin Bertram and Caleb Miller each posted one base knock. Settles, Mirtz, Iverson and Miller each had one RBI.
Meanwhile, on the mound starter Husby's pitches were around the zone all day. He gave the Tanagers a solid four-inning performance, giving up two runs, walking three and striking out two. Nate Garrett in relief for the fifth inning mowed down the Panthers in 1-2-3 fashion to end the game with a flourish.
The Tanagers' defense was as solid as the offense. A particularly spectacular "web gem" came in the fourth inning when Tanner Anderson, who took over his usual second-baseman's position once he arrived from a track meet earlier in the afternoon, fully extended his body parallel to the ground as he speared a Dakota Valley ground ball destined to go up the middle for a hit. Anderson flipped the ball to shortstop Settles for a force at second base just as the Panthers were threatening to score.
After a Wednesday night league game at Beresford this week, the Tanagers get to open their Prentis Park season tonight (Friday) in non-league play against Yankton. The first pitch of the varsity game is set for 5 p.m. with the JV contest to follow.
Vermillion will also be home Sunday and back in league play against Bon Homme. The JVs will take the field first at 3 p.m. with the varsity game starting at about 5 p.m. Another home date is Monday against Parkston with the varsity starting at 4:30 p.m. Next Wednesday the Tanagers go to Yankton with the varsity getting it rolling at 5 p.m.