Vermillion's Red Sox are three wins away from a spot in the state amateur baseball championship game after going 1-1 on the first weekend of state tourney play.
The Red Sox will clash with Castlewood at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Drake Field in Mitchell. The winner takes on either Brookings or the Rapid City Angels at 11 a.m. Saturday, and that winner plays the Brandon Valley-Renner Monarchs loser at 5:30 to reach Sunday's championship contest against the Renner-Brandon Valley winner.
The Red Sox went to Pierre for the first two games of the Class "A" tournament, needing to win at least once to advance to this weekend's "final six" in Mitchell. They lost to the Renner Monarchs, 8-2, Friday night, but in an elimination game Saturday the Sox scored early and often, then held off the Valley Green A's of Rapid City, 11-6.
Robin Chute had two hits in the Renner game, but for the most part the Red Sox offense couldn't solve the Monarchs' Dallas Schneiderman, who allowed only one earned run in his eight innings of mound work. He struck out four.
A five-run top of the second got the Red Sox off to a great start against the Rapid City ballclub. After Dan Hansen's single loaded the bases, two runs scored on a fielder's choice and an error. Jon Elliot's triple scored two more runs, and Chute plated Elliot for a 5-0 lead.
Tyler Candor's two-run home run made it 7-0 in the fourth, and back-to-back triples produced two more runs in the fifth to make it 9-0. However, the A's started to chip away, scoring once in the fifth and five times in the sixth. Fortunately the 9-6 lead held up until the ninth when Vermillion added a pair of insurance runs for the final count of 11-6.
Chute had a three-hit, three-RBI game, and A.J. Staiert and Steve Johnson also had three hits apiece. Candor, Elliot and Colby Lessmann contributed two hits each to the Red Sox offensive attack.