Alexandria gets 17 strikeouts from Vermeulen to beat Wessington Springs in first-round gameTrever Vermeulen wasn’t happy with his slider Friday night. “Honestly, it wasn’t really that good,” said Vermeulen, a former South Dakota State University closer who struck out 17 Wessington Springs hitters in a complete-game two-hitter. “I was just putting it where it needed to be.”
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Trever Vermeulen wasn’t happy with his slider Friday night.
“Honestly, it wasn’t really that good,” said Vermeulen, a former South Dakota State University closer who struck out 17 Wessington Springs hitters in a complete-game two-hitter. “I was just putting it where it needed to be.”
Vermeulen’s sidearm delivery and nasty slider helped Alexandria beat the Owls 3-0 in the first round of the Class B amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. Vermeulen even returned to the mound for the final six outs after about a 45-minute lightning storm that started in the top of the eighth.
Although the right-hander, who immediately found a cold beverage after the game, wasn’t extremely pleased with his out pitch, it sure was effective all game long. He struck out nine of the first 10 batters he faced, allowing only a standup double to Arin Boschee to lead off the second inning.
The only other hit Wessington Springs had was a solid single to right from Anthony Wahl in the top of the ninth with two out. Both of Wessington Springs’ hits came off Vermeulen fastballs. Boschee’s was a 2-0 pitch, while Wall recorded his single on a 1-1 count.
Chris Marek, who scored in the third inning on a two-out Trevor Doyle triple to right to give Alexandria its three-run cushion, has been Alexandria’s primary catcher all season. He agreed Vermeulen’s slider wasn’t in top form.
“It’s been sharper,” Marek said. “Before, it’s been where it’s unhittable, but it just didn’t have that snap.”
Still, Vermeulen struck out the side in the first, second and third innings and had at least one strikeout in eight of the nine innings he was on the hill. He was seven strikeouts shy of the state tournament record for total strikeouts in one game.
Alexandria’s defense, when it had to make a play, never allowed an Owls runner to third base.
Boschee went as far as saying Vermeulen is the best pitcher he’s seen this summer.
“He hit locations and he kept the ball down,” Boschee said. “It’s tough to do anything when the ball is down. His slider, I didn’t see it much, but I could tell the other guys had trouble.”
Alexandria jumped on the board in the first inning with one run. Wessington Springs starter Kevin Pottebaum, a finesse lefty, loaded the bases three batters into the game. Pottebaum worked out of the jam, giving up an RBI groundout to pickup player Brett Young for the second out, and he got Marek to fly out to end the inning.
Doyle’s two-RBI triple with two outs in the bottom of the third to score Young and Marek was the only other run-scoring hit of the night.
Pottebaum threw four innings, allowed three runs with four walks and a pair of strikeouts. Mitch McLagan threw the final four innings and retired 12 of 13 batters he faced.
Alexandria finished with five hits, but didn’t have a player with more than one. John Greicar had a leadoff double in the ninth, and Cole Wenande and Casey Solem each singled.
For the second round, Alexandria moves on to play Lake Norden at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Marek said Vermeulen will get the night off.
“I think we have a good enough team to win it all,” Vermeulen said. “We can beat anyone out here. When we’re off, I even think we’re good enough.”
NOTES: Pottebaum is a Daily Republic sports reporter. … Dave Gassman holds the state record for most strikeouts in a state amateur baseball tournament game with 24, a feat he recorded as a member of the Canova Gang in 1978. … Wessington Springs starting first baseman Brian Kolousek was injured during the fourth inning, trying to haul in a foul ball pop out. Wahl entered the game in his place.