Vermillion High's baseball team continued Sunday to make strides toward its goal of securing home-field advantage in the upcoming postseason playoffs.
The Tanagers won twice by a single run on a one-day western road trip, beating Bon Homme/Scotland for the second time this season, 5-4 in eight innings, and three hours later winning 2-1 over Wagner/Avon/Lake Andes.
VHS improved to 9-3 for the season heading into last night's road game at Dakota Valley. The Tanagers will conclude the regular season with three home dates—Saturday against Parkston (JV 2:00, varsity 4:00), Sunday against Corsica (JV 2:00, varsity 4:00), and Tuesday against Beresford (5:00 varsity, 7:00 JV).
VHS 5, Bon Homme 4
The Tanagers saw a 4-0 lead vanish when Bon Homme/Scotland scored four runs in its final at-bat to send the game to extra innings, but they immediately won it in the first extra stanza.
With two out and nobody on in the top of the eighth, Jayce Huska reached base on a pitcher's error and stole second base. Tanner Settles came through with an RBI single for what proved to be the winning run.
In the bottom of the eighth Collin Bertram came in to save the game for VHS. The first BH/S hitter, Austin Kaul, singled and was sacrificed to second base. After a foul pop-up snared by catcher Chayse Meierkort, an intentional walk was ordered to set up a force at any base. The strategy worked even better than planned when the final hitter, Blase Vanecek, struck out swinging to end the game.
Meierkort started the game on the mound and pitched 3 1/3 hitless innings though walking eight while striking out six. He retired the side in the first three innings, leaving a total of six Bon Homme runners stranded. After walking a pair in the fourth, Meierkort was replaced by Nate Garrett, who kept the home team scoreless until the bottom of the seventh when a walk, four hits and a throwing error allowed Bon Homme to tie the game.
The Tanagers took a 2-0 lead in the first when D'Andre Fore led off the game with a walk and scored on Meierkort's triple. A passed ball allowed Meierkort to score.
It became 4-0 in the second. Settles singled, Bertram was hit with a pitch, and Garrett bunted for a base hit to load the sacks. A fielder's choice off Fore's bat scored one run, and a wild throw from shortstop let another run in.
Meierkort and Settles each had two hits of the Tanagers' total of six.
VHS 2, Wagner 1
Bertram scattered four harmless hits in going the seven-inning distance for the pitching win at Wagner. He struck out three and walked one.
The only Wagner run came without the aid of a hit in the third inning when a pair of dropped pop-ups in the infield with a sacrifice bunt in between allowed a run to score.
For the second time that day the Tanagers had scored in the first two innings. A first-inning run came when Fore started the game as he usually does by reaching base, this time on a walk. Fore was advanced to second base on Caleb Miller's single and stole third from where he scored on Tanner Anderson's single.
The lead became 2-0 in the second when Settles singled, went to second on Joe Mazour's grounder, and scored on a wild throw by the W/A/LA shortstop.
The only serious threat by Wagner against Bertram once the score became 2-1 was in the fourth when their first two men reached base on a single and a walk. But an outfield fly, a strikeout and another shallow fly to the outfield ended that opportunity.
Anderson had two of Vermillion's six hits.