By Caleb Miller
After losing three of five games, the Post 1 Vermillion club righted the ship and then some, rattling off five straight victories this week. The streak consisted of a road win at Tabor and home wins against Elk Point twice, Crofton, and Hardington, NE and improved the Post 1 season record to 8-3. Strong pitching was the key for Vermillion during the stretch as no team managed more than four runs.
Post 1 – 6 Tabor – 4
Collin Bertram gave Vermillion a strong start when the team traveled to rival Tabor for a nine-inning contest. Bertram picked up the win with his six-inning effort, striking out seven and allowing no runs.
Runs were hard to come by in the early innings before Post 1 broke through for three runs in the fourth. Though he was retired on a lineout, Tanner Anderson started the inning with a hard line drive, and the next four batters followed suit with four consecutive singles including a two-RBI rope off the bat of Nile Morecraft. Colin Olson, Peter Haught, and Joe Mazour each had a hit and scored a run in the inning that gave Vermillion the lead it would hold for the rest of the game.
Jayce Huska tripled to open the next inning and Chayse Meierkort capitalized on an error to reach base, both came in to score to increase the Post 1 lead to 5-0.
Things became interesting after Nathan Garrett relieved Bertram in the seventh. A combination of two hits, two walks, and a Vermillion error allowed the home team three runs to cut the lead to 5-3. But Garrett settled down, allowing just two hits and one run the rest of the way to nail down the save.
Post 1 10 Elk Point 2
Post 1 7 Elk Point 4
Joe Mazour took the mound last Friday for game one of a doubleheader with Elk Point. Mazour surrendered hits to four of the first five batters and found himself in a 2-0 hole before fans could get settled into their seats. But this was the only noise the Elk Point offense would muster against Mazour, who flipped a switch after the rocky start. With the opening inning behind him, Mazour pitched a gem, throwing all six innings and allowing no more runs and just one more hit.
The Vermillion bats quickly erased the early deficit with run in the bottom of the first, two more in the third, and five in the fourth. The top four batters of the lineup powered the Post 1 offense with six hits, five runs, and five RBI’s, including a 3 hit, 3 RBI effort from Meierkort.
Just as in game one, Vermillion and pitcher Huska fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning of game two, but quickly answered with two of their own in the home half. The score remained tied at two until Post 1 score runs in the fourth and fifth to break the game open 7-2. A balanced attack aided the home team as seven of the nine players in the lineup collected at least one and six of them scored at least one run.
Post 1 7 Crofton 2
With their home contest against Crofton Monday, Post 1 began an epic week of nine games in seven days with no days off.
Three first-inning runs by Post 1 off Crofton starter Alex Janssen would by all Vermillion starter Morecraft would need. Morecraft struck out seven and allowed two runs, pitching all seven innings. Once again, the damage came from the top of the Post 1 lineup. Anderson led the charge with two doubles and two RBI’s while Tanner Settles and Meierkort contributed two hits apiece. Behind Morecraft, the Vermillion defense was stout, committing just one error that did not lead to any runs.
Post 1 10 Hartington 1
Bertram was back to the mound Tuesday against Hartington and turned in another impressive performance. Bertram’s line of one run on three hits and eight strikeouts was especially important as the Vermillion offense was quiet through the first three innings.
But with the fourth inning came a return to form for the Post 1 offense, ignited by a two-run homerun by Meierkort. Meiekort’s homerun, which bounced off the top of the wall in left field before finding a home beyond the fence, was one of two hits on the night for the Post 1 catcher to accompany two runs and five crucial RBI’s.
The Vermillion 1-3 hitters (Bertram, Settles, Huska) combined for seven of the team’s ten runs and pushed the home team to a comfortable lead in the late innings.
Attention was drawn away from the diamond with no outs in the top of the seventh when a line drive foul ball struck a spectator down the right field line. The ball hit the face of young women whose brothers played for the Hartington team. The game was delayed for 30 minutes as ambulances were called to the scene to ensure the safety of the young girl. Fortunately, she had not lost consciousness and was transported to the hospital with a hopeful prognosis.
Post 1 is set to play in the South Sioux City Tournament this weekend, looking to defend its first place finish at the tournament last season. The team will play Lincoln Lutheran, South Sioux City, and Wisner-Pilgner before breaking to the championship round.