The magic the Vermillion Grey Sox had found in their first-round game at the state amateur baseball tournament was all gone by the time the team reached the second round last Wednesday.
The Parkston Mudcats scored 11 runs in the first three innings, and that was too many for Vermillion to overcome as the Grey Sox fell, 17-7, to see their season come to an end.
Trailing 11-2, the Grey Sox showed some life, cutting into their deficit with five runs in the middle innings to give themselves a shot, but no sooner had they crept back to within 11-6 but Parkston, champions of the Sunshine League and runners-up in their district, immediately scored five sixth-inning runs and another for good measure in the seventh to take an insurmountable lead. The game ended after the bottom of the seventh when the Sox scored once more but still trailed by 10.
A pair of three-run home runs by Parkston's Trevor Freudenthal in the second and third innings were the most damaging of 10 hits the Mudcats had in the first three frames. Eight hits and six earned runs came off Grey Sox starter Tyler Johnson. Joe Millar relieved in the third just in time to give up Freudenthal's second blast but then kept the Mudcats scoreless in the fourth and fifth.
Vermillion got a first-inning run from leadoff man Jason Rasmussen, who was hit with a pitch, moved to second on Reid Meierkort's single and to third on a wild pitch, and scorfed on an infield grounder off Kyle Nemec's bat.
Another run scored in the fourth when Ben Oberle singled, stole second and was brought in by Millar's single.
In the fifth Josh Gross' bases-loaded triple, followed by Grant Lueders' sacrifice fly, made it 11-6. But Parkston went to work with a five-hit sixth to end any Grey Sox hopes. Cody Schreiber relieved to pitch the seventh. Parkston's Matt Malloy hit a solo homer for his team's final run.
The last gasp for the Grey Sox was a seventh-inning tally by Kyle Nemec, who singled, advanced on a Gross single and scored on Lueders' infield grounder.
Cade Hearden went the distance for Parkston, allowing 11 hits and striking out eight while walking two.