With every game an elimination game, the Vermillion Red Sox stayed alive twice on the final weekend of the state "A" amateur tournament in Mitchell.
But on Saturday night against Brandon Valley, who had dealt the Red Sox their first tournament loss the previous weekend, Vermillion came up short in a 15-5 loss in seven innings. The Sox season concluded with a 21-9 record.
Six of those losses came at the hands of the two teams who finished one-two in the regional tourney and who played Sunday for the state title, Brandon Valley and the Renner Monarchs.
Vermillion's first game in Mitchell was anybody's contest through seven innings as the Red Sox made a lone run scored in the top of the first inning stand. With pitching so crucial in a tournament where so many games are played in a short period of time, Nate Olsen did his part, throwing a nine-inning, complete-game four-hit shutout over the Sioux Falls Saints. He struck out 12 and walked only three.
The Red Sox gave him some breathing room at the end, scoring once in the eighth and twice in the ninth for a 4-0 victory.
A first-inning single by Jared Miller, whom the Sox picked up for tourney play from the Yankton Tappers. gave Vermillion its early lead. An eighth-inning double by Miller made it 2-0. A two-out two-run single by Robin Chute in the ninth gave the Sox their four-run lead.
The Saints twice had two men on base against Olsen, but he escaped both times.
Besides Miller's two hits, Chute and Travis Hanson also hit safely twice among the 11 Vermillion hits off three Saints hurlers.
Friday's win put the Sox into a Saturday noon game against Castlewood. Manager Kirk Sorensen called upoin Nick Wieder, who is usually a reliever rather than a starter, but he came through with a complete-game one-hit shutout performance as the Sox won in seven innings, 10-0. He struck out three and walked three, and the only Ravens hit was a first-inning single. The only Saints baserunners the rest of the way were five men who walked in five separate innings.
The Red Sox took command with a three-run third, the runs scoring on an RBI hit by Tyler Candor and sacrifice flies by Miller and Chute.
Another RBi hit by Miller, four walks and a hit batter helped the Sox to four more runs in the fifth. In the sixth a wild pitch scored one run, and Candor and Reese Steckler had RBI hits to make it 10-0.
Travis Hanson hit safely twice among Vermillion's six hits off three Ravens pitchers.
With the "A" field down to three final teams, the Red Sox took a 1-0 first-inning lead over Brandon Valley Saturday night on an RBI single by Candor, but the Merchants scored eight runs on six hits and two errors in the bottom of the first, and the climb was steeply uphill for the Red Sox the rest of the night.
Vermillion did rally to within 10-5 through 5 1/2 innings, but Brandon Valley batted around in a five-run sixth for a 10-run lead. After the Red Sox put their first two men on base in the seventh, Merchants starter Jordan Ahrendt coaxed three infield ground balls out of Vermillion batters to end the game. Ahrendt struck out one, walked three and allowed seven hits, including two by Candor.
Kasey Neumann started for the Sox but lasted only one-third of an inning. Wieder went 2 2/3 innings, and A. J. Stairet finished the game. Brandon Valley pounded out 16 hits.