With sectional tournament play a little over a week away, the Ripley Vikings picked up a key victory over the Riverside Warriors in the MSAC Tournament, escaping 5-3.  The two teams could potentially meet again next week in the Class AAA Region 3, Section 4 tournament.

 “It’s nice to get a win over a sectional opponent,” said head coach Shane Casto, “Especially when it’s a week before we play when it really counts.”

Senior Trevor Tucker led the way offensively for the Vikes, going 3-3 with a home run, a double, two RBIs, and two stolen bases. Jonny Stepp went 1-4, while Luke Layhew and Lane Casto each went 1-3.

Tucker’s leadoff homer in the fifth opened the scoring, and gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead. Casto later stole home to make the score 2-0.  In the top of the sixth, Stepp scored on a passed ball to make the score 3-0, and then Tucker scored Layhew with an RBI double to bring the score to 4-0 Vikings.  Tucker then scored on Isaac Koontz’s sac fly to give the Vikings a 5-0 lead.

The cushion was all starter Cody Pittenger needed, as he took a one hitter into the seventh and picked up the win for Ripley.  Pittenger went six full innings, giving up two hits, two walks, one earned run, and struck out four.  Christopher Jordan relieved Pittenger in the seventh to get the save, giving the Vikings the 5-2 win.

After the game, Casto was happy with the victory, but knew his team’s bigger challenges lie ahead.

“We need to warm up our bats between now and next Thursday when Sectionals start,” Casto said, “But the bottom line is we got another ‘W’ and that’s what we need headed into the postseason.”

The Vikings couldn’t get their bats going against Logan on Tuesday night, and fell to the Wildcats, 9-2.  Logan McCoy took the loss for the Vikings, lasting only one inning, while surrendering five hits, one walk, and five runs.

Jared Bumpus was brought in and went six innings, while allowing two earned runs, six hits, no walks and striking out four batters.

“We didn’t play very well,” said Casto, “We aren’t a good enough team to turn the switch on and off when we want to.”

The Vikings amassed four hits, and scored both of their runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Christopher Jordan scored on a passed ball, and then Easton Berry scored on Anthony Jarvis’ sacrifice fly. Berry, Jordan, and Tucker each went 1-3 for the Vikes, while Jarvis went 1-4.

Not happy with the loss, Casto stressed the importance of his team getting back to a winning mentality with tournament play beginning next week.

“We had a stretch a couple weeks ago when we came out like gang busters,” Casto said after the game, “We need to get back to that mentality.  We’re at a point where these games count next week.”

The Vikings are now 18-11, and wrap up the regular season tonight at Point Pleasant.  Sectional tournament play begins next Monday night with times to be announced.  Ripley will play either Capital or Riverside.  They lost to Capital 4-2 in the regular season, and split with Riverside.