Bossier City, LA: After inclement weather threatened to cancel this weekend’s scheduled three game series between the Airline Vikings (3-0) and the visiting Neville Tigers (1-2), the two teams locked horns in rare double-header action on a Sunday afternoon. Quality starts from juniors Bryson Connell and Will Tynes allowed a quiet Vikings offense to do just enough to outscore the Tigers 4-1 and 5-2 to complete the Sunday sweep.
The opener of the Sunday double-header was highlighted by a combined 14-strikeouts from Vikings starting pitcher Connell and senior reliever Caden Jones. Offensively the Vikings made the best of their four hits in the game en route to a 4-1 victory.
“Anytime Bryson is on the mound our guys believe they have a chance to win against anybody. He does a good job of trusting his stuff and challenging hitters,” commented Vikings Head Coach Toby Todd.
Cole Broadway drew a one out walk in the bottom of the 2nd-inning and scored on an RBI- double to right-center field from Hayden Lope giving the Vikings an early 1-0 lead.
Connell faced the minimum through three innings while collecting seven strikeouts before running into trouble the 4th. Neville third baseman MD Tally belted a double to left field and later scored on a two out double to right from Griffin Steverson knotting the score at 1-1. Connell responded with by striking out Parker Fugler to end the inning.
Chris Lutterman sparked a three run bottom of the 4th-Inning with a leadoff single and later scored on Lopes second RBI of the contest. Connell lined a ground ball by Tally with two outs scoring Lope and Jones giving the Vikings a 4-1 lead.
Jones entered in relief in the top of the 6th-Inning for Connell who collected a career high 12-strikeouts while allowing one earned run on just hits. Jones tossed two complete innings of work allowing just one hit and striking out two while collecting his first save of the year.
“I was just trying to pound the zone and throw strikes and do everything I could to set our team up to win,” commented Connell.
Despite registering just two hits in game two, the Vikings outscored the Tigers 5-2 to complete the double-header sweep and improved to 3-0 on the year. Christopher Lutterman came through with the biggest hit of the game with a two-out bases loaded single in the bottom of the 4th-inning to give the Vikings a 3-1 lead.
The Vikings opened the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd-Inning after Cole Broadway reached base via hit-by-pitch, stole second base, and later scored after Tigers second baseman Brennan Surells misplayed a line drive ground ball up the middle from Caden Jones.
Jordan Thomas reached base after a swing and miss on strike three got away from Vikings catcher Hayden Travinski to lead off the top of the 4th-Inning. Tynes collected back-to-back groundouts which advanced Thomas to third, allowing him to score on a wild pitch with two out before inducing an inning ending fly out from Ruddell.
Ruddell answered in the bottom of the 4th with striking out Tynes and Broadway, but Lope belted a two-out double to left-center field to extend the inning. Back-to-back walks to Jones and Lucas McKain loaded the bases for Lutterman who lined a two-RBI single to right-center field scoring Lope and Jones, giving the Vikings a 3-1 lead. The Vikings added single runs in the 5th and 6th-Innings to stretch their lead to 5-1.
“I felt calm and relaxed after already seeing the same pitcher for the third time in the game. I got a pitch to hit later in the at bat and was happy to contribute in helping our team win today. I think we did just enough when we had to, we have a lot to improve on, but it has been a good start” commented Lutterman.
Vikings junior reliever Hunter Whiteside came on in relief for Tynes in the 6th-Inning, and in his first career varsity appearance, tossed a perfect frame. A leadoff walk to begin the top of the 7th-inning was quickly erased after Brett Batterford rolled into an unassisted double play to Connell at shortstop. Consecutive defensive miscues allowed Surells to score and cut theTigers deficit to 5-2, but Whiteside finished his impressive debut by striking out Thomas to end the contest, preserving the 5-2 victory for the Vikings.
Tynes (2-0) allowed one unearned run on just one hit while striking out seven in 5.0-Innings of work.
“I think we all appreciated the opportunity just to get out on the field on the first sunny day we have had in a long time. It takes a lot of work, from our administration, our coaches, parents, and players to prepare a field and get these games in through some less than ideal weather for baseball. I think our players found reasons to compete together rather than make excuses and see a game get away from us when we were not playing our best. We look forward to preparing for a tough week on a dry field tomorrow,” concluded Vikings Head Coach Toby Todd.
The Vikings will travel to Ruston Tuesday night to take on the Bearcats. First pitch is slated for 6:00pm. Stay up to date with scores, news, and updates at www.airlinebaseball.org.
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Vikings Battle to 6-5 victory over Tigers in Bland Memorial opener
March 8, 2019
Vikings improve to 3-0 after Sunday-Sweep over Tigers