Braves snap Viking winning streak 8-2, then West Vigo pulls out 5-2 victory

May 10—If it's a broken jaw, as Jason Fields believes it is, it was well worth it.

That's what the Terre Haute South baseball coach said Friday evening after his Braves had won 8-2 at West Vigo in the first game of a doubleheader, South's first win over the Vikings in three seasons.

"We have a lot of seniors on the team, and this was a game they really wanted," said Fields, ironically a West Vigo graduate.

As the Braves were warming up on the infield prior to the first game of Friday's doubleheader, an errant throw went over the head of South catcher Noah Fields (the coach's son) and hit coach Fields just under his left ear.

He stayed upright and didn't appear to lose consciousness, but there was noticeable swelling as the Braves rested while the Vikings went through Senior Night activities between games.

Surprisingly, it wasn't a pitch that hit him. In a game none of the pitchers involved is likely to use in a highlights video, there were 15 free baserunners — seven walks and eight batters hit by pitches, four on each side. South's Brady Weidenbrenner took pitches off the bill of his batting helmet in each of the first two innings, and West Vigo's Brandon Dailey and Grayson Porter were also nailed twice during the game.

The largesse benefitted the Braves early as South got a run in the first inning on a bloop single, an infield hit and two hit batters and added two more in the second on a leadoff single by Matthew Ewing, two walks and two more hit batsmen. From the Viking standpoint it could have been a lot worse, as Jacob Likens ended the first inning with a diving catch in right field that prevented at least two runs and freshman Colton Enyeart came on in relief with two runs in and the bases still loaded in the second and got out of that jam.

"Colton was outstanding. I'm very proud of him," a disappointed coach Culley DeGroote of the Vikings said between games. "He kept us in it."

The Vikings would have been in it even more, except that they almost matched South in the left-on-base category the first two innings. The Braves stranded six, but the Vikings left four.

South got to Enyeart for three runs in the top of the fourth, RBI doubles by Nathan Wright and Brady Wilson the big blows, but in the bottom of the sixth it was the Vikings' turn to score with help.

An infield hit by Chase Hedden led off the inning and Dailey earned his second trip to first base. A one-out walk to Gabe Skelton loaded the bases.

Garrett Pugh's sacrifice fly drove in the Vikings' first run, but that was the second out of the inning. Likens walked to reload the bases, and Grayson Porter's second HBP made it 6-2, but that's all the Vikings could muster while leaving the bases loaded themselves.

And in the top of the sixth, the Braves got those two runs back on a double by Brady Weidenbrenner and a two-run homer by Ty Stultz. The homer was the only hit Stultz managed in the first game, but the South shortstop scored three times, had three RBI and also contributed three outstanding defensive plays.

"In the past we'd get the bases loaded and then we'd seem to fall apart," coach Fields said after the game. "Tonight we came out ready to go. Maybe we've finally found it."

"Tip your hat to South. They put the ball in play," DeGroote said. "But we had some terrible appearances at the plate . . . when you don't make adjustments, you allow [South pitcher Ayden Napier] to pitch a three-hitter against you."

TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (AB-R-H-RBI) — L.Weidenbenner 3b 5-0-0-0, B.Weidenbrenner lf 3-2-2-0, Stultz ss 2-3-1-3, Wright 1b 3-1-2-2, Fields c 4-0-1-1, Wilson 2b 3-0-2-2, McCord dh 4-0-0-0, Napier p 0-0-0-0, Ewing cf 4-1-1-0, Hoke rf 3-1-1-0. Totals 31-8-10-8.

WEST VIGO (AB-R-H-RBI) — Dailey c 2-1-0-0, Cottrell 2b 4-0-0-0, Skelton dh 3-0-2-0, Michael lf 0-0-0-0, Pugh 1b 3-0-0-1, Likens rf 1-0-0-0, Gr.Porter cf 1-0-0-1, Ga.Porter p 0-0-0-0, Enyeart p 3-0-0-0, Noblitt ss 2-0-0-0, Hedden 3b 3-1-1-0. Totals 22-2-3-2.

TH South 120 302 0 — 8

West Vigo 000 020 0 — 2

LOB — THS 9, WV 7. 2B — Wright, Wilson, B.Weidenbrenner, Hoke. HR — Stultz. SB — B.Weidenbrenner. SF — Pugh.


Napier (W) 7 3 2 2 4 6

West Vigo IP H R ER BB SO

Ga.Porter (L) 1.1 3 3 3 2 0

Enyeart 5.2 7 5 5 1 2

HBP — by Ga.Porter (B.Weidenbrenner), by Ga.Porter (Wilson), by Napier (Dailey), by Ga.Porter (B.Weidenbrenner), by Ga.Porter (Wright), by Napier (Gr.Porter), by Napier (Dailey), by Napier (Gr.Porter). WP — Napier. T — 1:48.

—West Vigo 5, South 2 — The second game was almost the opposite, as the Vikings jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning and seniors Porter and Likens combined for a four-hitter.

Hunter Cottrell, another senior, had two hits for West Vigo and Likens drove in two runs.

South rallied in the sixth inning, cutting the lead to 5-2, but Likens retired the last five batters — striking out three of them — to earn the save.

"We got really complacent in the second game," said coach Fields, "didn't attack the ball like we did in the first game.

"Give West Vigo credit," he continued, "they've got some good hitters we had to work around all evening with our pitching staff."

"Grayson Porter threw a great ballgame," said a happier DeGroote, "and our defense was outstanding."

Both teams have critical conference games coming up. South, 10-8, plays at Columbus North on Saturday with a chance to take the lead in Conference Indiana, and West Vigo, 12-9, plays Tuesday at Northview in a battle of Western Indiana Conference contenders.