Vermillion Post 1 was down to possibly the last four innings of its season Monday afternoon. But a five-run, six-hit sixth inning lifted Vermillion from a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 lead which later became an 8-5 win over Dakota Valley.
The victory kept Post 1 alive in the Region 3B Tournament at Prentis Park, heading into Tuesday's fourth day of play. Wet grounds caused postponement of the day's play to Wednesday, which then set back championship day to Thursday. The tournament winner plays in the state "B" tournament at Winner starting next Wednesday.
Vermillion had begun the tournament with a 15-9 win over Lennox on Saturday night. Post 1 trailed early 4-1 but found its offense in the middle innings. Tyler Husby started on the mound for Vermillion, and Nate Garrett pitched the last half of the game, keeping Post 1's lead comfortable.
Against tournament favorite Beresford in Sunday's second round, Vermillion was in a 3-3 tie after two innings. However, the game quickly got out of hand when Beresford scored 10 runs in a nightmarish third inning. Beresford managed only three hits in the inning but got a lot of help � two hit batters, two walks, a catcher's interference call and, worst of all, six Vermillion errors.
From that 13-3 lead Beresford went on to score twice more in the fourth for a 10-run lead. When Post 1 was retired without scoring in the fifth, the game ended abruptly via the 10-run rule, and Beresford moved on into the championship round, needing to win only two more games, one Monday and another on championship day. They got the first one of those against Canton Monday, so whoever survives through the losers' bracket would have had to beat Beresford twice in Thursday's championship games.
Nick Anglin pitched three innings and Bob Osterberg one against Beresford. Jackson Anderson got the win for Beresford, allowing seven hits, two of them to D'Andre Fore. Zach McDonald and Nate Garrett had RBI hits in the early going as Vermillion fought back to tie the game at 3-3. Two later Vermillion runs crossed the plate as the result of an infield error and a bases-loaded walk.
Facing the prospect of having to win three consecutive elimination games to reach championship day, Post 1 got the first of them on Monday afternoon against Dakota Valley. For awhile it looked as if an upset were in the making as Dakota Valley made a first-inning run hold up through five innings and added an insurance run in the top of the sixth.
Meanwhile, Vermillion was squandering numerous opportunities � for example, bases loaded on three hit batters with one out in the first and did not score; bases loaded with none out in the second and did not score; leadoff man on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings and did not score.
Meanwhile, Dakota Valley, held in check by starter Tyler Husby through five, got some momentum rolling in the sixth with a one-out double, a walk and an infield error to score once. They had the bases loaded with two out, threatening to open up some breathing room for starter Evan Steemken. But Nate Garrett relieved Husby in that critical situation and threw one pitch to get an outfield fly that ended the inning.
Moments later Caleb Miller's sharp hit just past the DV shortstop ignited the Vermillion offense. After one man was out, Anglin followed with a hit, and Garrett beat out a bunt for a hit of his own to load the sacks. Fore came through in the clutch with a double, and Jason Rasmussen smashed a line drive single to score two more. A throwing error by the Dakota Valley catcher let another run in, and McDonald's double scored the fifth Vermillion tally.
For good measure the seventh inning saw a leadoff single by Stormy Mirtz, an RBI single by Fore and a two-run blast in the left-field trees by Rasmussen for an 8-2 lead.
Garrett got into some trouble in the top of the ninth when Dakota Valley put together four hits, scoring three times, but a two-out grounder to Rasmussen to shortstop ended the uprising and preserved Vermillion's advancement to the next round.
Rasmussen finished with four RBIs along with his two hits. Fore had two hits and two RBIs. Garrett, Anglin, and Mirtz also had two hits among Vermillion's total of 13. Husby and Garrett each struck out three during their stints on the mound. Husby allowed only three hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work, and Garrett permitted only two until DV got its four base knocks in the ninth.
Chayse Meierkort, outfielder/pitcher, sustained an ankle injury early in the Beresford game and watched the Dakota Valley game on crutches but was hoping to be back for Post 1's stretch run through the losers' bracket. Vermillion's fourth-day game was an elimination game against Harrisburg, and the winner of that one would have next played Canton for the right to take on Beresford on championship day.