May 10, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 19

Vikings sweep four games at home

Vikings baseball swept a home series against Craig, Wrangell, and Juneau JV last weekend.

Suzanne Ashe
Vince Kowalksi at bat during Saturday’s rainy games.

The first game, against the Juneau JV on Thursday, was a six to five Vikings win.

Colby Bell started on the mound for Petersburg through the first four innings and gave up only three hits and four runs, and struck out eight Juneau batters. Dalton Small pitched the 5th and the 6th innings.

The ball game was tied four to four in the 6th and 7th innings, and Juneau scored off an error.

Taylor Pullar was first at bat at the bottom of the 7th with Petersburg down a run. He got on base with a single and worked his way to third base.

Next, Small got on from an error, but Pullar was thrown out at home.

Small made it home to tie the game when Dan Loucks hit a triple to the right field corner.

With two outs, a tied game, and Loucks on third, Cody Seaman came up to bat.

On Seaman’s third strike the ball was in the dirt. It was a dropped third strike and by rule Seaman had a chance to advance to first, and beat the throw from the catcher.

He made it safely to first and because of it Dan Loucks came in to score the winning run.

“It’s called a walk-off dropped third strike,” said Petersburg’s Head Coach Jim Engell. “I’ve never seen anything like that to end a game, but it has happened before. I had to Google it, and it just happened about a month ago in a college game.”

Wrangell came for the day on Friday, but due to their travel schedule the game had to be shortened to four innings.

Dan Loucks was starting pitcher. In three innings he allowed two hits, four earned runs and four strikeouts, with seven walks.

Petersburg’s offense got ten hits from three at bats, with hits from Vince Kowalski, Kris Thorsteinsen, Pullar, Small and Billy Ware.

“Ware came through with a clutch base hit and a nice suicide squeeze for us in the first inning, and scored a run,” said Engell.

The Vikings had good production all the way around.

“We had five guys with hits, four of them with multiple hits, and eight guys scoring runs,” said Engell.

The game against Wrangell was a ten to five Viking win.

Petersburg played two games on Saturday starting at 9 am, in “cold, miserable weather,” according to Engell.

The first game was a rematch with Juneau’s JV.

Kowalksi pitched the complete game and came up with some very nice numbers.

In seven innings he gave up five hits, had five runs earned against him, and struck out seven batters.

At bat things were a bit different for the Vikings in Saturday’s games.

“Hits were easy for us the first two games. We out hit our opponent 22-5 on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday we just struggled. We had five hits total on Saturday,” said Coach Engell.

But the team did a nice job of adjusting.

“We were patient at the plate. We got walks when we needed to, got some clutch pitching, got some clutch hits, and then, with the game tied in the 7th inning, Vince Kowalski led off the inning with a clutch base hit and ended up coming around to third base,” said Engell. “

Pullar hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to bring Kowalski in and make it a six to five Viking win.

Engell described the game as “solid baseball.”

“We had a few errors, but nothing that hurt us. Dan Loucks had two doubles that game,” he said.

The final game of the series was against Craig.

“It was a pitchers duel. It was one of the shortest full seven innings games I’ve ever been involved with,” said Engell.

Pullar pitched the complete game with only two hits allowed in seven innings, no runs, seven strikeouts, and with an amazing ration of 56 strikes thrown out of a total of 74 pitches.

The Vikings had no hits at all in the game.

In the 7th inning the score was tied zero to zero, and the first pitch of the inning hit Cody Seaman in the back.

Seaman got to second by taking advantage of an error, a wild pick-off.

Small was at bat with Bell on deck.

“So Dalton and I talked and I said ‘just bunt him over to third.’ He went and got a picture perfect bunt. The catcher had to field it, and threw the ball in the dirt to the first baseman and it skipped by the first baseman and Cody Seaman was able to score from the second base on that error. So two errors and a hit batter was all it took for us to win that game. It was a true pitchers duel,” said Engell.

The final score was one to zero.

“It was a fun game to be involved in, a lot of trying to figure out the right strategy for the situation.”

“Our guys are really executing the offense when we needed them to, laying down good sacrifice bunts, forcing the defense to make plays… it’s a confidence builder for our team,” said Engell.

“We hit the ball really well in the first two games, then we had to drop down and play small ball in the last two. And I’m pleased with the way our pitching staff played. We had five pitchers pitch and they all did great,” said the coach.

The Vikings’ offense has been nicely productive over the last five games, scoring 23 runs, 27 hits, and batting 310 as a team.

“And we’re executing good defense,” said Engell. “We’re still getting a few errors, but we’re finding ways to get those outs and not let them hurt us. It’s something we want to keep working on, if we can get on the field.”

“It’s been tough to find weather decent enough to get a good practice in, with the fields so wet, but everybody is struggling with that around Southeast, so we’ll keep hitting practice,” said Coach Engell.

Up next, the Vikings hop a jet to Sitka on Thursday to play three games and ferry home.

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