After a rugged weekend in which they fought four Class "A" teams tooth and nail, Post 1 couldn't duplicate that effort Tuesday as Class "B" play resumed.
Vermillion stranded 10 runners on base, failed all night long to get a single clutch hit and committed five errors in losing to Dakota Valley in a nine-inning game, 6-4.
In the 11th annual Lewis & Clark Wooden Bat Classic, Post 1 went 2-2, losing to two of the state's Class "A" powerhouses and beating two other "A" teams. The two clubs that beat Post 1 both reached Sunday's semifinals. Sioux Falls West made it to the championship game, losing there to Brookings, and Valley Springs, which lost a one-run game to West earlier, qualified for the semifinals as the wild card team and lost to Brookings in that round.
Now 4-3, Post 1 goes to Lennox for a 6:30 p.m. encounter tonight (Friday), plays a twinbill at Irene at 6:30 Monday and hosts South Sioux City for two at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Next Thursday Vermillion will play both Huron and Yankton at the latter site.
Much of the credit for Post 1's inability to get any offense going against Dakota Valley goes to pitcher Colin Gunderson. He took over for starter Mike Rennerfeldt with two out in the first inning. Of the 25 outs for the rest of the game, Rennerfeldt retired Vermillion batters on infield ground balls 16 times and struck out four.
Post 1 left the bases loaded in the first inning, stranded a runner at third base in the second, third, fourth and eighth innings and left a man at second base in the fifth and sixth innings.
Vermillion took a 2-0 lead off Rennerfeldt without a hit. Two walks, a stolen base, a passed ball, a sacrifice fly off Chayse Meierkort's bat and a catcher's throwing error produced those two runs.
Post 1 made it 3-0 in the third when Stormy Mirtz singled, advanced on Collin Bertram's hit and a passed ball, and scored on an infield grounder by Tanner Settles.
Vermillion starter Nate Garrett cruised for five innings, facing only three baserunners – one on a walk, one on a single and one on an error. But to start the sixth inning, Dakota Valley got to him as the first six batters all reached safely on five hits and an error, and five of them scored.
Caleb Miller came in in relief and struck out five while allowing two hits and one unearned run the rest of the way.
Post 1 was within 5-4 until the ninth when the infield threw the ball away back and forth, committing two errors on the same play, and putting a man at third. Two pitches later a sacrifice fly gave Dakota Valley an insurance run, but as it turned out, they didn't need it.
Bertram and Jayce Huska had two hits each among Vermillion's seven. Dylan Strickholm had two hits and two RBIs to lead DV's offensive attack, which actually was concentrated in that one fateful inning.
Brandon Valley 10, Vermillion 4
In a daily newspaper Saturday morning Brandon Valley was cited as one of the four probable challengers for the state "A" Legion baseball title. They likely are exactly that. But if that's the case, then Vermillion may certainly have a say about what happens in Class "B" after taking Brandon Valley into four extra innings Saturday night before losing 10-4.
Post 1 struggled through eight innings with only two hits but still was engaged in a tied extra-inning battle. Starting pitcher Nile Morecraft and his mates kept Brandon Valley in check though Post 131 had baserunners and basehits in every inning except one.
The Vermillion defense sparkled at times. First baseman Caleb Miller executed an unassisted double play, spearing a line drive and doubling a runner off first. Left-fielder Nate Garrett made a run-saving catch and doubled a runner off second base. Stormy Mirtz made a leaping catch at second base. Tanner Settles went deep into the hole at shortstop to throw a runner out at first. Those plays all ended innings when Valley Springs was threatening.
Post 1 tied the game at 2-2 in the second on an RBI single by Mirtz and a bases-loaded walk by D'Andre Fore. A walk, an error and a wild pitch gave Post 1 a gift run in the third for a short-lived 3-2 lead.
Joe Mazour relieved Morecraft, whose pitch count had surpassed 100, one batter into the ninth inning. Valley Springs went ahead, apparently scoring two on an error on Settles at shortstop on a play that would have ended the inning. But one of the runners failed to touch home plate as he crossed it. Post 1 appealed and won, so the deficit was only 4-3.
Mirtz led off the bottom of the ninth with a booming double and scored on Jayce Huska's double. That hit also moved Settles, who had walked, to third base as the potential winning run with only one out, but Post 1 couldn't get him home.
Eventually in the top of the 11th with one out the roof caved in. A walk and four straight hits, then two Post 1 errors, gave Valley Springs an insurmountable 10-4 lead. Even so, Vermillion tried to rally, loading the bases with two out in the bottom half but failed to get any closer.
Brandon Valley pitchers – starter Dylan Rock and reliever Jacob Adams – struck out 15 batters and allowed only four total hits over the 11 innings. Mirtz had two of those four hits. Rock and Adams were damaging at the plate, too, Rock having four of his team's 15 hits and Adams driving in two runs.
Vermillion 4, Aberdeen 1
The Class "A" Smittys' very first batter of the game scored on a walk and an error, but that was their only run of the game as Post 1 tied the game in the third on a double by Caleb Miller and a single by Chayse Meierkort. One run in the fifth on a catcher's throwing error past third base would prove to be the winning run, but Post 1 added two insurance runs in the sixth for a 4-1 win Saturday morning.
Tanner Settles' single and a fielder's choice off a ball batted by Huska scored the final two runs.
Collin Bertram struck out one and walked three while giving Aberdeen only two hits in the seven-inning contest, a fifth-inning double by Carter Paulson and a seventh-inning double by Mike Stotz. He picked two runners off base and, just for good measure, as a batter Bertram had three of his team's nine hits and a run batted in.
Meierkort and Miller had two hits each for Vermillion.
Vermillion 15, Blair 7
Helped along by eight Blair, NE, errors, Post 1 pounded out 14 hits in overcoming an early 3-0 deficit and winning Friday night's game, 15-7.
Post 1 struck for six consecutive hits in the first inning to erase Blair's three-run top of the first. A two-run single by Stormy Mirtz and an RBI single by Collin Bertram were the clutch blows.
In a six-run third a hit batter and an infield error opened the flood gates for Post 1. Tanner Anderson crushed the ball for a two-run double. Nate Garrett and Jayce Huska also drove in runs as did four Blair errors.
Garrett and Caleb Miller had RBIs in a two-run fourth. Huska, Garrett and D'Andre Fore had hits in a three-run fifth that ended the game by a tournament rule (eight-run lead after five innings).
Chayse Meierkort went the distance for the pitching win, allowing eight hits, fanning four and walking five.
All nine Vermillion players had at least one hit, and Miller had three. Garrett had three RBIs while Miller, Anderson, Mirtz and Huska had two apiece.
Trever O'Dell pitched all five innings for Blair, allowing 14 hits, striking out three and walking three, but he had no chance as he was victimized by the eight errors behind him. The Blair team had committed seven errors in their previous game in which they somehow beat Aberdeen, 15-13.
S.F. West 5, Vermillion 3
After Post 1 had rallied to within 5-3 of Sioux Falls West after five innings, West pitchers retired the last nine Vermillion batters in succession to keep their lead.
West had two three-hit innings in the early going to build a lead of 5-1. Vermillion's first run was produced by an error and Jayce Huska's RBI single on an 0-2 pitch in the second. Collin Bertram singled in the fourth and scored on a dropped fly ball in left field. The third Post 1 run came in the fifth when Caleb Miller doubled, was advanced by Meierkort's grounder and scored on Anderson's sacrifice fly.
Nate Garrett struck out five, walked none and allowed five hits in taking the pitching loss. Miller had two of Vermillion's five hits off starter Brady Aldrich and reliever Trevor Hurley, who mutually walked none and fanned five.