ALEXANDRIA -- The Alexandria Angels have their ace back in the fold.
Trever Vermeulen recently made his season debut in Alexandria’s 11-4 Sunshine League amateur baseball victory over Wagner on July 7. Vermeulen, a Mitchell native, wasn’t sure if he was going to pitch this season as his body was getting worn down.
“The itch to play will always be there,” Vermeulen said. “But the body is the one kind of telling me when it’s time to be done.”
A former South Dakota State University pitcher, Vermeulen has played amateur baseball with Alexandria since 2012 and has racked up the innings during a record-setting career. He holds the state amateur record for most consecutive pitching victories with 36.
But innings and records aside, that camaraderie is what drew him back.
“I just kind of missed being around the guys,” Vermeulen, 30, said. “I thought I would come back and get a few games in and enough to play in districts and in the state tournament -- give it one more go.”
He didn’t attend “a handful,” of Alexandria games, but eventually returned to the ballpark and slowly worked his right-throwing arm into shape.
“When I started showing up to these games, I started playing catch,” Vermeulen said. “It was the first time I played catch since the state tournament last year. I wanted to give myself a little time to get my arm somewhat in shape I guess and then I just felt like instead of throwing a bullpen, I might as well throw a live game on the mound and I got a few innings.”
On July 7, he logged those innings. Vermeulen struck out five batters and allowed two unearned runs in his four-inning start.
“It felt all right,” he said about his start. “The days following not so much, but it was all right for the time being.”
Vermeulen anticipates his next start will be during the District 5B tournament, which starts July 25 in Parkston.
“The game plan is just kind of be ready by state tournament, I think and see what I have left in the tank and help out where I can,” Vermeulen said.
During his absence, Alexandria kept up its winning ways. Entering Wednesday’s Sunshine League showdown against Winner/Colome, the Angels are 10-5 overall and 9-2 in the league.
The pitching staff also held down things while Vermeulen was gone. Dakota Wesleyan University pitcher Ethan Davis has logged 39.1 innings pitched, while going 3-1 on the season. He’s struck out 47 batters and has a 2.97 ERA. Brothers -- Tyson and Jordan Gau -- have also thrown quality innings this season. Jordan Gau (3-1) has fanned 33 batters and has a 2.05 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched. Tyson Gau (2-1) has 40 strikeouts and a 2.43 ERA in 29.2 innings of work.
“I think with picking up Ethan has been good for us,” Vermeulen said. “(It’s) another good, quality arm to eat some innings that I basically gave up. Jordan and Tyson both have been pitching well. If I can help out a little bit, and we can have four guys rocking into the state tournament, I think we are going to be really deep and we are going to have a really good chance at advancing on, if our bats can produce some runs.”