Viking baseball went on the road last weekend. skipping the planned stop in Wrangell because of a flu outbreak on the Wolves team, and heading straight to Ketchikan for three games.
The first game was a five to nothing win over the Ketchikan JV. Taylor Pullar pitched that complete game.
“He pitched a shutout, scattering five hits over seven innings, with 11 strikeouts and only walking three guys. He had complete control over the strike zone,” said Petersburg Head Coach Jim Engell.
Defensively the Vikings played very well, giving up only one error.
Kris Thorsteinson, Dalton Small, Dan Loucks and Connor Yeager all got hits in the game.
“We had five stolen bases. We were constantly getting guys into scoring positions,” said Engell.
Cody Seaman was behind home base as catcher.
“It was good to have him back, after having eight stitches in his glove hand finger,” said Engell.
One thing that the team talked about after the game and is stressing in practice this week is not leaving runners stranded on base.
“In at least five innings we had runners on third that we weren’t able to punch around, so we’ve got to do a better job of getting those runs in,” said Engell.
The next game of the series was against the Juneau-Douglass JV. The game was a 10-9 loss for the Vikings.
It was a good game that went back and forth.
The Vikings slipped behind by a few runs during the first few innings, then Dalton Small came on as relief pitcher and the team mounted a comeback to take a 7-6 lead in the fourth.
“Juneau pounded out a few key hits, and a big two-run home run,” said Engell.
The Vikings were down ten to seven going into the final inning.
“We got runners on with some hits and stolen bases and we dropped down a couple bunts including a suicide squeeze that resulted in a throwing mistake, and we got back to 10-9 but we weren’t able to tie the game up,” said the Viking coach.
“I look at the game as a very positive loss. We executed really well. Defensively we had only one error. We had four sacrifice bunts. It was positive for us to see that kind of execution to move runners into scoring positions,” said Engell. “We had four stolen bases.”
The Vikings out hit Juneau and have out hit every team they faced this year so far.
“Colby Bell came through with a couple of key line drives. It was nice to see him hitting the ball hard,” said Engell.
The final game of the series was a rematch with Ketchikan’s JV, a 15-9 win for Petersburg.
Of particular note to Engell in the third game was the patience and judgment shown by the Viking offense. Petersburg had eight runners get on without a hit, seven walks and a hit batter, with only three strike outs.
“The guys are starting to play with confidence. They’re realizing baseball can be a really fun game when you execute the way you want to, getting clutch hits, doubles, and also dropping down and executing small ball bunts.
'We executed rundown situations, and good infield play. One thing we’ve got to do is quit leaving runners stranded,” said Engell.
In the coming weeks before Regionals the Vikings will be spending more time in the cage, having challenged themselves to boost their batting average.
This weekend is a home series. Juneau’s JV, Craig, Wrangell, and possibly Thunder Mountain will be coming to face the Vikings on their home field, with games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.