By Parker Knox
A doubleheader sweep over Elk Point-Jefferson at Prentis Park Sunday sent Vermillion High’s baseball team to a 4-1 record and set the stage for a torrid schedule of four games within a seven-day span in the coming week, weather permitting.
The Tanagers enjoyed a six-inning shutout pitching performance by Jake Odens, followed by an inning of scoreless relief by Joe Mazour, to beat EP-J 5-0 in Sunday’s opener. Then VHS blasted 14 hits and had two six-run innings in sending the Huskies home early in the nightcap 14-1 in a game that the mercy rule ended after six frames.
VHS is scheduled to host Wagner for a 4 p.m. varsity contest with a JV game to follow Saturday. The Tanagers host Bon Homme at 5:30 Monday, go to Beresford at 5:30 Wednesday, then play Bon Homme in Tabor next Friday at 5:30.
EP-J stranded five baserunners in the first four innings but could never break through against Odens, who struck out seven while walking only one and scattering five hits. Mazour got the Huskies in order in the seventh to close out the win.
A walk, an infield error on a stolen base attempt and a hit batter set the table for Vermillion’s Pete Haught in the fourth. His two-run double down the left-field line broke a scoreless tie. The Tanagers gained a gift run later in the inning on a wild pitch.
That 3-0 lead was large enough, but for good measure VHS added two insurance runs in the sixth. Ty Iverson doubled home the singling Justin Bendesky, and Iverson scored on Collin Bertram’s single.
Iverson and Bertram had two hits apiece among Vermillion’s eight. Brody Gugat had two of EP-J’s five base knocks.
Starter Dillon Streets, who lasted 3 1/3 innings, suffered the pitching loss.
The Tanagers, playing as the visiting team in the nightcap, scored in the first on a hit batter, a Tanner Settles single and a balk. It stayed 1-0 until the fourth when Tanner Anderson’s leadoff single and stolen base ignited a six-run explosion.
Colin Olson and Bendesky had RBI hits in that inning, Haught drove home a score with a sacrifice fly, a bases-loaded walk forced in a run, and EP-J let in two more with wild pitches.
A six-hit, six-run sixth included a two-run double by Olson and RBI singles by Iverson, Haught and Seth Heine. Another wild pitch let home the game’s final run.
The only EP-J tally off complete-game winner Mazour came in the fifth when the Huskies bunched together three of their five hits. Mazour struck out three and walked one. Lorin Gregg, EP-J’s starter, took the loss.
Olson had three hits and three RBIs while Bertram, Settles and Heine had two hits each. Haught also drove home three scores.
The Tanagers’ home opener Friday saw VHS rally from a 3-1 deficit after 3 1/2 innings to dominate Dakota Valley, 11-3.
Vermillion had been contained to one hit by starter Cody Sexton until the fourth when Bertram dropped a basehit among three DV defenders in shallow right field. That scored one run, and when the right-fielder fired the ball into the Vermillion dugout trying to nail a runner at third, a second run came in.
An Anderson bunt for a leadoff basehit started a three-run fifth that broke the game open. Olson’s hit, a pair of stolen bases, an error trying to cut down Anderson at third, and a sacrifice fly by Mazour gave VHS a permanent lead. Settles drew a bases-loaded walk for another run.
VHS closed it out with a five-run sixth that featured run-scoring singles by Haught, Iverson and Settles and a two-run double by OIson.
Starter Bertram was relieved after two-plus innings, having given up the three DV runs. Reliever Olson shut down the Panthers the rest of the way on five hits, five strikeouts and two walks over five innings.
Iverson, Anderson and Bertram hit safely twice among the 12 Tanager hits, and Bertram had three RBIs and Settles a pair.
DV’s eight hits were divided among four men – John Robinson, Andrew Prochello, Sexton and Ryan Lammers.
At Yankton last Wednesday the Tanagers led 1-0 through three innings and 2-1 after 4 1/2, but Yankton scored three in the fifth to pull out the victory, 4-2. VHS had its chances early, leaving the sacks full in the first and third innings.
Anderson’s RBI single scored a run in the first, and Olson’s double plated Anderson with the lead run in the fifth, but reliever Bertram walked the first man he faced in the bottom of that stanza. A hit batter, a wild pitch, an infield error and two run-scoring hits were all the Bucks needed.
Tanner Termanson, the third of four Yankton hurlers, got the win. Each team managed only five hits. Anderson had two of Vermillion’s safeties.
Baseball notes: The annual steak night for the benefit of American Legion baseball will be held at the Eagles Club Saturday with serving from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets at $50 for two steak dinners and a season pass to Post 1 home games will be on sale at the door. A poker night and socializing will follow the meal.