Having advanced in sub-section play, the Pelican Rapids Vikings split 2 games on Thursday in the double elimination tourney, losing the first game 11-3 to New York Mills before coming back to win the loser out game by an 8-2 score over Browerville/Eagle Valley.
The Vikings got off to a good start against New York Mills with 2 runs in the first. Nick Schermerhorn got a one out single, Jacob Gottenborg walked and Dillon Such singled to load the bases. Matt Osborne’s single scored Schermerhorn, leaving the bases full. Oakley Kress grounded into a fielders choice with Gottenborg scoring, however, the Eagles came back with 2 of their own in the bottom of the inning due to 4 walks and only one base hit. They added one more run in the 2nd and 3rd innings and 2 in the 4th for a 6-2 score entering the 6th inning. Osborne was relieved on the mound by Schermerhorn in the 3rd and pitched pretty well until the 6th inning. The Vikings rallied in the top of the 6th which started with Gottenborg getting a one out infield single. Jayden Rutherford entered as a courtesy runner, stole 2nd and went to 3rd on the errant throw to 2nd. After a fly out, he scored on Osborne’s double. Oakley Kress followed with a deep drive to center but was out on a sensational diving catch by the centerfielder, Charlie Fox. The Eagles put the game away with 5 runs in the bottom of the inning. After 3 walks and 2 bloop singles scored 2, Coden Roberts hit a bases loaded double, clearing the bases.
"The nine walks we gave up were very uncharacteristic of both Matt and Nick but we felt we had a chance in the 6th before Fox’s catch," said Assistant Coach Steve Babb. "We hit quite a few balls hard but it seemed like they were right at a defender, however, Mills had 13 hits and Roberts pitched a complete game, allowing only 5 Vikings hits and 2 walks. Both Roberts and Cole Tumberg were 2 for 3 on the day with 3 RBI.
In the following loser out game, The Vikings broke open a close game with 5 runs in the 6th and 1 in the 7th to advance in tournament play with an 8-2 win over the Browerville/Eagle Valley Tigers. Hayden Christenson got the complete game win, in his best pitching performance of they year, striking out 9 and walking 3, while only giving up 4 hits.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the first when with 2 outs, a double, a single and an error on the throw to 2nd on a stolen base accounted for an unearned run. That was the only danger that Christenson would have until the 7th inning. Pelican would take a 2-1 lead in the 4th. Dillon Such led off with a single and went to 2nd on a passed ball. Such, dealing with a hamstring injury, was replaced by pinch runner Ishmael Mejia. Oakley Kress followed with a single to score Mejia, advanced to 2nd on the throw home and stole 3rd. Damian Britten then had an outstanding 8 pitch at bat, fouling off a couple of tough pitches before hitting a line single down the 3rd base line, scoring Kress. That was it for scoring until the 6th when Kress led off by walking and stealing 2nd. Britten’s double to deep left scored Kress. He advanced to 3rd as Weston Funk reached first on an infield error and stole 2nd. Reggie Funk followed with a single to score Britten and stole 2nd to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Christenson then singled to score Weston Funk and also stole 2nd. The Tigers replaced starting pitcher Nate Petermeier at this point with Brady Emery and was greeted by a single off the bat of Nick Schermerhorn, scoring Reggie Funk, with Christenson advancing to 3rd. After Schermerhorn stole 2nd, Gottenborg then struck out on a pitch that got away from the catcher but Christenson scored on the throw to 1st. The Vikings got one more run to push the lead to 8-1 in the top of the 7th. Kress singled, stole 2nd , went to 3rd on a passed ball and scored on Weston Funk’s sacrifice fly. The Tigers mounted a rally in the 7th when the first 3 batters reached on a single, double and a walk, scoring one. After Christenson retired the next 2 batters, the inning continued despite a strike out when the ball got away from the catcher loading the bases. Another strikeout followed to end the game, sending the Vikings on to continuing tournament play at Minnewaska Area High School in Glenwood on Tuesday, June 5 against Border West.
"The bottom of the order really came through for us in the 2nd game though we stranded a number of runners in scoring position," noted Coach Babb. "It was nice for the team, after a deflating loss to New York Mills, to come back with a solid game, with many different players contributing. It will also be good to have 5 days off before our next game so a few of our players can get healthy. Besides Such’s sore hamstring, Gottenborg suffered a rib injury in his back during the Brandon/Evansville game, which has been affecting him quite a bit."