RIPLEY – It appears that the Ripley Vikings subscribe to the notion that the best defense is a good offense. The Vikings continued to absolutely hammer opposing pitching staffs late this week, with the latest victims being Riverside at home on Thursday night, then at Shady Spring on Friday night. Both contests featured back and forth action, but Ripley was able to outgun their opposition to come away with two key victories.
“We hit the ball really well again (Thursday night),” Viking Head Coach Shane Casto said after the Riverside game, “They worked really hard strength and conditioning in the off season and practice during the season and they deserve it. Riverside has been a thorn in our side the last two years. So getting a win over the defending AAA runner-ups is a big boost of confidence for these guys.”
After the Warriors went up 1-0 in the top of the first, Ripley answered with two runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead. After adding two more in the bottom of the third to take a 4-2 lead, Riverside answered with three runs in the top of the fourth to take a 5-4 lead. The Vikings answered by tying the game in their half of the inning and then putting the game away with seven runs in the next inning. They added two runs in their last inning and came away with a 14-8 win over their sectional rival. Anthony Jarvis continued his hot streak at the plate, going 3-3 with two doubles and three RBIs; Christopher Jordan went 3-5 with a homer and three RBIs; Isaac Koontz, 2-4, two doubles, RBI; Easton Berry, 2-5, RBI; Remy Boyce, 2-2, RBI; Cody Pittenger, 1-3, HR, two RBI; Luke Layhew, 1-3, 2b, RBI.
Layhew got the win in relief, giving up two runs, three hits, and two walks in three innings. Pittenger got the start, and went four innings with six runs (one earned) four hits, two walks, and one strikeout.
Jared Phalen led Riverside at the plate, going 2-3, while Brady Wilkinson and Damon Massey added homers.
RIPLEY 12 – SHADY SPRING 8
SHADY SPRING – Ripley turned right around and found themselves in another slugfest on Friday night at Shady Spring. The Viking bats came alive in the middle innings, scoring a total of six runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to take a keep pace with the Tigers and then used a six run sixth inning to come away with a 12-8 win.
“We were in a dog fight all night long.,” Casto said, “That’s been the story for us the last couple nights. We just out hit Riverside and Shady. There will be a day when we can’t get 15, 16, 20 hits in a game and we’re going to have to win a close one. Our pitching and defense has to get better if we want to reach our goal this spring.”
Trevor Tucker led the Vikes at the plate, going 3-5 with a double, triple, and two RBIs. Jordan went 3-5 as well, with two RBIs and five stolen bases. Easton Berry went 2-4 with an RBI.
Koontz got the win on the mound in three innings of relief, giving up two runs (none earned), four hits, and one strikeout. Jared Bumpus got the start for Ripley, going four innings, while giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and one strikeout.
“I absolutely love what we’re doing at the plate and on the base paths, that will win us a lot of games,” Casto said, “But I’ve been around baseball long enough to know that there will be a day where we can’t get that hit or not be able to get on base to utilize the speed we have. So we’re going to be in a pitcher’s duel. We’re very capable of doing that. I just hope we do it sooner than later. What hair I have left is starting to turn really gray.”
The Class AAA #4 Vikings (13-3) took on Point Pleasant at home last night, and will return to action tonight on the road at Class AAA #1 Nitro. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.