By Parker Knox
A new champion will reign over Class “B” high school baseball when the finals are played in Sioux Falls on Memorial Day.
Defending champion Vermillion’s season came to a disappointing conclusion when Bon Homme-Scotland ousted the Tanagers, 8-4, in the second round of the Region 1B playoffs last Friday at Prentis Park.
It was a poorly-played game on the part of both teams, with Bon Homme advancing to play Parkston for the region title despite committing six errors. The harsh truth of the matter was that the Tanagers might not have scored at all had it not been for Bon Homme miscues in three particular innings, two at a time, which contributed greatly to every Vermillion score.
The Tanagers managed only four hits. They were pretty much shut down offensively after Ross Kortan moved to the mound from second base in relief with one out in the second inning. Vermillion had just rallied from an early 3-0 deficit and had two runners on base with one away, but he got the side out, and from then on he was never in any danger.
Meanwhile, the visitors pounded out 12 hits, scoring in bunches in three innings, and a Tanager error contributed to each of those rallies.
Kodi Larson, the Bon Homme starter, fanned three in his 1 1/3 innings of work, but he was victimized by four errors behind him in that short stretch. A leadoff single by Collin Bertram and an error at shortstop gave VHS its first run in the first stanza. After three walks and an error in the second put the Tanagers in position to tie the game at 3-3, Kortan took over from Larson. On the first batter he faced Bon Homme committed an outfield throwing error to knot the score. But from then on Kortan got the side out quickly.
A single by Colin Olson in the third was erased on a force play. The other two VHS hits came back to back in the sixth when the Tanagers were down 8-3. Joe Mazour and Seth Heine each got a single and kept going on to second because of an error. The Tanagers got their fourth run on the ball hit by Heine and thrown back in wildly by the Bon Homme left fielder, but Kortan retired the side on consecutive infield grounders, then got VHS in order in the seventh to end the game and the season.
Bon Homme scored three times against starter Colin Olson in the first. He left after two inning-opening hits in the third, and Collin Bertram took the mound. An infield error was committed on the ball hit by the first man Bertram faced. A sacrifice fly followed that miscue. Bon Homme had its lead back and never trailed again.
BH-S put the game away with three runs on three hits in the sixth.
Eight of the nine men in the Bon Homme batting order slugged at least one base hit. Hunter Young had three, and Larson and Chase Kortan had two apiece.
Completing their high school baseball careers due to graduation were Colin Olson, Tanner Settles, Joe Mazour, Tanner Anderson, Peter Haught and Collin Bertram. Over the 2012 and 2013 seasons when they were the bulk of the Tanager team, VHS went 18-3 last year and 9-3 this year for a two-year record of 27-6 that included last year’s state championship.