Vikings 9-run third inning key to victory
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Senior Viking Logan Akers was hit by a pitch, giving the Vikings its first lead of the night that started a 9-run rally, leading to a 13-3 five inning mercy rule win at home Thursday.
With this win, the Vikings improve their record to 5-2 overall and get back in the win column after a tough 7-1 loss in their previous game against Council Bluffs Jefferson.
“I’m proud of the girls for the way they bounced back,” said Vikings Head Coach Trevor Gipple. “When we drop off in a game, we bounce back the next day. Short memory, that’s kind of what I’m preaching, and the girls responded to it.”
Sophomore Viking Sienna Christian got the ball to start the night. She instantly found herself in a jam with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the 1st inning. She managed to find a way out of it with a groundball to second base, preventing the Eagles from scoring.
“We really just talked about which pitches were working and focused on my form when I got behind,” Christian said.
The Eagles struck first in the top of the 2nd when Koryn Trede scored on a bobbled ball at first base by Freshman Viking Bryanna Wood. A few batters later, Sophomore Eagle Claire Cook knocked in two more runs on a 2-out double, putting the Eagles up 3-0.
The Vikings didn’t take long to respond when Akers stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, drawing a walk. This led to their first run of the night and cut the Eagles lead to two runs.
The Vikings continued to score when Graycen Partlow dropped a base hit into left field, plating a run that put the Vikings down by one. They then tied the game when Rylie Knop drew a walk with the bases loaded tying the game at three.
The Eagles were threatening to retake the lead in the top of the 3rd inning with back-to-back singles with two outs, but a ground ball was hit to Loralei Wahling at third base, who stepped on the bag ending the half inning.
The Vikings got their first lead of the night in the bottom of the 3rd when Akers was hit by a pitch, putting them up 4-3. On the next pitch, Partlow whacked a 2-run double over the right fielder, widening the Vikings lead to 6-3.
Knop grounded to third base where the ball was bobbled, allowing Akers to score to make it 7-3 Vikings. Christian then stepped to the plate and cleared the bases on a double which put the Vikings up 10-3. They added a few more runs, leading 12-3 after 3 innings played.
“It was really great for our confidence boost when we had trouble scoring runs in other games, so it was really nice,” Christian said.
Christian walked the first two Eagle batters to open the top of the 4th inning. Gipple brought Wahling in for relief, who managed to shut down the Eagle offense, getting the Vikings back in the dugout.
“It was probably time to mix it up,” Gipple said. “Sienna has been battling an injury and felt like it was time to make a change. Third time coming through the lineup and we went to Loralei.”
The Vikings added one more run in the bottom of the 4th, putting themselves up 10. Wahling returned to work in the top of the 5th, preventing the Eagles from scoring, and the Vikings winning via the mercy rule.
With this win, they move to 5-2. They will head out on the road Friday at 7:30 p.m. to take on the 5-3 Clarinda Cardinals. The Cardinals are led by Kaylah Degase with 11 hits and 10 runs batted in with a .458 batting average. On the mound, Lylly Merrill has two wins and Andi Woods has 12 strikeouts.
“We’re going to have to hit the ball good against another Hawkeye 10 team,” Gipple added. “We need to clean up our errors and cut down the walks on defense.”