Big 4th inning pushes Vikings past Champions

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Austin Bonner makes a diving catch in right field for the out. (T-G Photo by Chris Siers)

It was an all-out struggle for both the Cascade Middle Champions and the Community Vikings to try and put the bat on the ball during the first few innings of Monday's inter-county showdown on the diamond.

Eventually, the Champs broke through with a run in the top of the fourth, but it was Community's five-run response in the bottom of the inning that proved to be the Champs' undoing as the Vikings picked up a 6-2 win to kick off the week's worth of games.

Starting Viking pitcher Kirk Taylor worked out of some early jams and went four innings, giving up three hits and only one run, while striking out a pair of Champion batters.

Lane Stacey fires a throw to first base after snagging a line drive, turning the game's first double play. (T-G Photo by Chris Siers)

In the first inning, Cascade led off with a pair of singles, but stranded both on base when Hunter Calvert ground into a 5-3 put out to end the inning.

Community returned the favor in the bottom of the frame.

With one on and one out, Michael McClain slugged a double to deep centerfield, seemingly giving the Vikings a chance to do some serious damage.

But Cascade starter Seth Gardner answered by striking out the last Viking batter to retire the side.

Both teams continued to back up the starters with some key defensive plays until the Champs broke through on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth.

Cascade led off the inning with a pair of hits, but was able to load the bases following a Viking error.

With the bases loaded, the Champs walked home the game's first run, but couldn't generate any key, two-out hits to break the game wide open.

The tempo of the game changed in the bottom of the fourth with Community driving home five runs, crippling the momentum gained by the Champs.

Cascade was able to rally for one more-late game run, but again, the Vikings answered and was able to claim the 6-2 win.

Champion starter Seth Gardner went three innings of two-hit baseball, striking out five Vikings in the process.

McClain led the Purple and Gold at the plate, connecting on 2-of-4 at bats with a double and a single to his credit.

Hayden Edmondson and Gardner led the Champs, each going 1-for-4 on the night.

Cascade gets its chance at payback this afternoon on its home field against the Vikings with the first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m.