Viking hitters heating up, coach hopes

May 1—West Vigo had a little help reaching the milestone Wednesday night at Dick Ballinger Field, but the fact that his Vikings had scored in double figures for a third straight game was still good news for baseball coach Culley DeGroote.

"The hitters are starting to get some confidence," he said after the hosts had defeated Sullivan 12-2 in five innings of Western Indiana Conference play. "We're starting to peak at the right time."

Wednesday's offensive outburst overshadowed the work of Viking senior Jacob Likens, who pitched four perfect innings out of five and allowed just two hits and no walks.

"Jacob just did what he does," his appreciative coach said.

The lack of free bases was a contrast to what the Vikings enjoyed, particularly in the bottom of the sixth inning when the game got away from the visitors.

Sullivan's time is coming, though, and both coaches know it.

"We've got a lot of young talent," Sullivan coach Tony Steimel said.

"Three freshmen and three sophomores started tonight. We're looking forward to the next few years."

"Sullivan's got some good young arms," DeGroote noted.

West Vigo's first six batters all did damage in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday. Brandon Dailey singled, Hunter Cottrell walked, Gabe Skelton and Garrett Pugh both singled (Pugh getting an RBI), Grayson Porter hit a sacrifice fly and Likens hit a run-scoring single.

After Likens had retired the first nine batters, Skelton and Pugh gave him some insurance runs in the bottom of the third when they hit back-to-back full-count pitches over the fence and into the football bleachers.

An error broke up Likens' perfect game in the top of the fourth, and with one out freshman, Hunter Mason lined a homer that was Sullivan's first hit. Ty Hamilton added an infield single later in the inning.

But after the Vikings picked up an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth and Likens had pitched a perfect fifth came the unfortunate bottom of the fifth.

Garrett Porter had a hit and Dailey hit a two-run double for the Vikings, but the home team also benefitted from four walks, two hit batters, two wild pitches and a throwing error.

West Vigo is now 6-2 in the WIC and needing some help. Indian Creek and Edgewood, the two teams who have beaten the Vikings, are unbeaten in league play and Northview, a team the Vikings still have to play, has lost just one WIC contest.

"The conference is really good this year," DeGroote said.

—Scouting? Or just good neighbors — Wednesday was Jordan Blevins Day at West Vigo, with all proceeds going to the family of a Viking whose health struggles kept him from playing baseball this season.

It was also a night off for the Vikings' county baseball rivals, and a dozen or more players from both Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South were in attendance (West Vigo plays both within the next two weeks).

"If they were scouting us, I'm glad they were," DeGroote said after the game. "I thank them for coming over and helping support Jordan and his family."

SULLIVAN (AB-R-H-RBI) — Osborne c 2-1-0-0, Roshel 2b-p 2-0-0-0, Mason 3b-2b 2-1-1-2, Harris dh-p-3b 2-0-0-0, R.Pinkston rf 0-0-0-0, Hamilton ss 2-0-1-0, Hanks 1b 2-0-0-0, Brooks p 0-0-0-0, McKinley rf 2-0-0-0, H.Pinkston cf 2-0-0-0, Abbott lf 1-0-0-0, Drury ph-lf 1-0-0-0. Totals 18-2-2-2.

WEST VIGO (AB-R-H-RBI) — Dailey c 4-2-2-2, Cottrell 2b 3-1-0-0, Skelton dh 2-4-2-1, Hedden 3b 0-0-0-0, Pugh 1b 4-1-3-2, Gr.Porter cf 1-1-0-1, Likens p 3-0-1-1, Noblitt ss 1-1-0-1, Ga.Porter rf 2-1-1-0, Michael lf 1-1-0-0. Totals 21-12-9-8.

Sullivan 000 20 — 2

West Vigo 302 16 — 12

Two out when run-rule victory achieved.

E — Ga.Porter, Roshel, Osborne. LOB — Sullivan 1, WV 8. 2B — Dailey. HR — Skelton, Pugh, Mason. SB — Pugh, Cobb (WV courtesy runner). SH — Noblitt. SF — Gr.Porter.

Sullivan IP H R ER BB SO

Brooks (L) 1 4 3 3 1 2

Norris 3 3 3 2 3 4

Roshel 0.2 2 6 5 4 1

West Vigo IP H R ER BB SO

Likens (W) 5 2 2 1 0 4

HBP — by Norris (Ga.Porter), by Roshel (Gr.Porter), by Roshel (Noblitt). WP — Roshel 2. T — 1:31.

Next — Both teams play on Friday. West Vigo (8-8, 6-2 WIC) will be at North Daviess and Sullivan (7-8, 2-3) will be at Vincennes Lincoln.