Gerzin blanks Florida foe

Vermilion closes spring baseball trip with three straight wins

by Tom Coombe -

Thanks in part to some stellar pitching efforts, including one by former Ely Timberwolf Louie Gerzin, the Vermilion Ironmen closed out their season-opening trip to Florida with three straight victories.
Gerzin fired a one-hitter with eight strikeouts Mar. 13 as the community college baseball team blanked Schenectady (N.Y.) 10-0 in the opening game of a twinbill near Orlando.
Vermilion also rode the pitching of Kyle Durbin, a former Northeast Range Nighthawk and Ely American Legion ace, in a 4-2 victory over the same team on Mar. 12.
A 4-1 triumph against Minnesota rival Fergus Falls the following day gave the Ironmen a 3-5 record after opening with five straight defeats.
“It was a nice way to end the week,” said Vermilion Head Coach Ray Podominick. “In our first three losses we were competitive and then we had a couple of bad games, but we started to hit better at the end and got good pitching. It’s certainly nice to end your Florida trip with a three-game winning streak.”
Gerzin, a high school all-stater for the Timberwolves in 2014, dominated on the hill on Sunday, his second pitching start of the trip.
The hard-throwing right-hander worked his way through some extended counts and only walked one batter in the five-inning decision. A third-inning single was the New York school’s only hit.
Vermilion also banged out 11 hits in the win, its most in any game down south.
Sophomore Brennan Thiele went four-for-four with four runs batted in, while Durbin scored twice, and went two-for-three with three RBI.
Jacob Moore had two hits and two runs scored and Reid Clark doubled for VCC.
Durbin pitched his second game of the trip in the nightcap, tossing a four-hitter with six strikeouts while going the distance.
Sophomore Kyle Waugh paced the offense, going four-for-four with two doubles, and freshman Alex Kaske had two hits including a triple.
The story of the game, however, was Durbin’s masterful pitching performance.
“He really deserved two wins,” said Podominick. “He struck out six guys and threw well, and he deserved to win his first start when we lost 3-2 and left 13 runners on base.”
The Ironmen also avenged an earlier loss to Fergus Falls, as Thiele and Mitch Amundson combined on a five-hitter in Monday’s finale.
The game was tied at one until the bottom of the sixth, when Clark, a freshman from South Ridge, cleared the bases with a three-run double.
Amundson retired the side in the seventh and Vermilion had its third win.
“One stat I picked up on is we only walked two guys in our last three games,” said Podominick. “I thought early in the week, you could tell it was our first games. The first game against Fergus Falls we lost 10-1 and gave up only four hits but we had seven errors. If we don’t walk guys and play defense we’ll have a good chance.”
Waugh and Thiele were VCC’s top hitters during the trip, and Gerzin had a home run in one of the Vermilion defeats.
The Ironmen are off until Mar. 27-28 when, weather permitting, they’ll play four games on the artificial turf at Duluth’s Wade Stadum. They’re set to meet Hibbing and North Dakota-Bottineau.