Prior to the game, Coach Dennis Woods said that the Vikings were going to be aggressive at the plate and put balls in play. The Vikings did exactly that; smashing baseballs all over the field en route to 14 total hits in the game. Unfortunately for VASJ, they just could not find a couple clutch hits as they managed to get only two runners across the plate in a 9-2 defeat to Kirtland in the District Title game.
Kirtland also came out of the gates fast as they used timely hitting and a few early VASJ fielding miscues to give themselves a 6-0 lead after two innings of play. After the initial blow, the Viking pitching staff, Jake Smith and Zac Tizzano, held Kirtland to only 3 runs across the last 5 innings to keep VASJ within striking distance.
The pitching staff was helped by some outstanding plays in the field as well. Including Senior Kobie Parker catching a deep fly ball in right-center field and proceeding to throw a missile to third base to throw out a runner trying to advance to turn a double play and stop a Hornet rally. Middle infielders Johnathan Cook and Jalen McMillian did a great job keeping hard hit balls from skipping off the turf and into the outfield. Behind the plate, senior Owen Nunnally was fantastic once again, not allowing a single passed ball the entire game.
At the plate the Vikings came out swinging early and often. VASJ had multiple runners in scoring position in both the first and the second innings but could not find a way to get them home. VASJ got on the board in the 3rd inning after singles by Johnathan Cook, Owen Nunnally, and Larry Osborne loaded the bases. Kobie Parker was hit by a pitch in the next at bat to bring home the first VASJ run of the game. With one out and the bases loaded the Vikings could not find one more hit in the inning to clear the bases and entered the 4th inning trailing 6-1.
The Vikings continued to get base-runners and found their second run of the game in the 5th inning as Larry Osborne led off with a single and advanced all the way to third on a wild pitch from Kirtland. Osborne would score on a sacrifice fly from Liam Brown. That would be the last run the Vikings would score, resulting in a 9-2 final.
At the plate the Vikings were led by Zac Tizzano who went 3-4 with 3 singles. Cook, Nunnally, Osborne, and Kyle Trickett all went 2-4 with 2 singles. Liam Brown added a hit and an RBI. Kobie Parker had the lone extra base hit for the Vikings as he roped a double down the first base line to lead off the 7th inning. Jake Smith added a single as well.
Coach Dennis Woods is incredibly proud of the year the team had, “I am so happy and proud of the kids. We came a long way since traveling to scrimmage at Marietta.” He continues, “There was always going to be a transition and we went through a tough part of the season, but the kids continued to work hard and finally believe that they are good ballplayers.”
The Vikings finish the season with a record of 16-11 and bring the District Runner-Up trophy back to the Viking Village.