For the first time in 39 years, the Larchwood, Iowa Diamonds will play for a South Dakota amateur baseball state baseball championship Sunday.
Larchwood scored three times in the final two innings, including an RBI single from Travis Feekes to score Nick Meisinger for the eventual game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning to win 3-2 in the Class B state amateur baseball tournament semifinals Saturday at Cadwell Park.
Larchwood (20-7) will face either Harrisburg or Alexandria in Sunday's Class B state championship game at 2 p.m. at Cadwell Park.
"For it to end like that and for us to come out on top, it's pretty exciting," Larchwood manager/pitcher Patrick Sinnema said. "We'll enjoy it for a bit and get ready to play again."
The Diamonds woke up the bats in the eighth inning when Micah Linn tripled to right-center field to score Feekes and tie the game. Two batters later, Keaton Grevengoed hit a blast over the center-fielder's head for a double to score Linn from third for a 2-1 lead. That advantage was short-lived when Garretson's Brett Fischer scored on an error following a Larchwood error in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 2-2.
With two outs in the ninth inning, Meisinger moved up from first base to second on a wild pitch and Feekes singled the next pitch to left field, with Meisinger scoring after the ball was cut off before reaching home plate.
"We knew today that we would have to put together a lot of good at-bats against (Whetham)," Sinnema said. "I thought we did that early and then we kind of reaped the benefits late, and guys were able to hit into gaps in timely spots."
Garretson tried to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth but Feekes threw out the go-ahead run at home to end the inning from right field. In the ninth, the Jays had a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth but catcher Brent Ripperda threw out Fischer at second base on a stolen base attempt to end the game.
Jon Van Beek earned the win for the Diamonds, throwing four innings of relief, allowing an unearned run and five hits. Sinnema started, tossing five innings and allowing two hits with five strikeouts. Feekes, Linn and Koury Kramer each had two hits for the Diamonds.
Garretson (22-4) got a complete game from Patrick Whetham, who allowed 10 hits, three earned runs and struck out six. Sam Johnson had two hits for the Blue Jays, who scored the first run in the third inning when Fischer scored from third on a wild pitch.
The Blue Jays won the two prior meetings between the two State Line League foes this season by 9-2 and 9-3 scores but the Diamonds will have a chance at the state crown Sunday.
"There's a lot of people in our community that support our team and hopefully we can honor them and play hard and hopefully come out with a win," Sinnema said. "We know it will be a tough game."
Vermillion Red Sox 3, Aberdeen 2
Colin Borchers' complete-game effort and a home run from Jake Lamoreux helped the Vermillion Red Sox stave off elimination Saturday with a 3-2 win over Aberdeen Circus Sports Bar in the Class A state amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park.
Borchers allowed six hits and two runs, while striking out six. Blake Meechum and Kendall Candor each had two hits, with each driving in runs in the sixth inning to take the final 3-2 lead. Lamoreux's solo home run opened the scoring in the third inning for the Red Sox.
Joey Wollman took the loss for Aberdeen, tossing five innings, allowing eight hits and three runs. Lucas Heiser covered the final three innings with just one hit allowed. Michael Babcock and Evan Jordre each had two hits at the plate for Aberdeen.
Vermillion faces Renner in an elimination game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday to determine which team will play the Sioux Falls Brewers Sunday for the Class A state championship.