RIPLEY – A doubleheader sweep is nice, but a doubleheader sweep of a program like Wheeling Park is nicer. The Ripley Vikings enjoyed such a feat on Monday night at Viking Park, sweeping a Patriot squad that has made the state tournament each of the past three seasons.
In both games, the Vikings jumped out to an early lead and were able to hang on for victories. In game one, the Vikings prevailed 9-5 behind a good start on the mound from Ben Mack and production up and down the lineup. Then in the nightcap, Ripley prevailed 7-5 after again jumping out to an early lead.
“We beat a very good program twice today,” said Viking head coach Shane Casto, “I’m really proud of my guys. Very good win for us. I thought we got in cruise control a little after the fourth inning. Ben Mack threw a great game. Give Coach McLeod and his guys credit, they didn’t quit. They battled us from start to finish. Very proud of our guys.”
In the opener, Ripley scored seven runs in the fourth inning to blow the game open. Already up 2-0 in the fourth, the Vikings loaded the bases with no outs.
Broedy Boyce started things off with a two-run single, then brother Remy Boyce put an exclamation point on the inning, lining a three-run homer to left to give the Vikings a commanding 7-0 lead. Senior Anthony Jarvis and Mack added RBI singles later in the inning, as the Vikings led 9-0 heading into the fifth.
However, the Patriots would not go quietly. They plated five runs on Mack in the seventh inning, but Ripley’s senior hurler was able to get the complete-game win. He allowed five runs (one earned) on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Boyce brothers led the Vikings at the plate, with Broedy going 2-for-3 with two RBI and Remy going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Jarvis (1-for-2, two RBI), Mack (1-for-3, RBI) and Petersen (1-for-2) also knocked in runs for the Vikings.
Jarrod Jones went 1-for-3 with two RBI for Park, while Ryan Hummel took the loss on the mound.
In the nightcap, Ripley once again jumped out to an early lead, scoring all seven of their runs in the first three innings. They also overcame six errors on the night, winning 7-5 behind a solid start from Petersen and solid bullpen work from Brannon.
Park jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but a Rocky Ford double in the bottom of the inning tied things at 2-2.
Ripley’s big inning came in the second, pushing across four runs on Park starter Rush Seidler. Petersen scored on a passed ball to give Ripley the lead, then Lane Casto lashed a two-run double to center to put Ripley up 6-2. Park answered with two more runs in the third, followed by Ripley getting an RBI double from Broedy Boyce in the bottom half of the inning. Trailing 7-4, the Patriots could only manage one run in the sixth, as the Vikings came away with a 7-5 win.
“I probably sound like a broken record, but we have to get better at finishing games,” Casto said, “We are starting fast and coming out of the gate strong like we want, but there is still room for improvement. I’m really happy with the way we have hit the ball the last four games. If we can continue to do that, we’ll be in every ball game from here on out. Really proud of our effort today. We talk a lot about mental toughness and being able to handle being out of our comfort zone. We are continuing to get better and better at it every day. You either get better or get worse every day. And for the last four games, we’ve gotten better and I couldn’t be more happy for our guys.”
Petersen got the win on the mound, going two and a third, while allowing four runs (one earned) on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Brannon went three and two-thirds in relief, allowing an unearned run and walking two. Ford got the save, pitching the last inning and striking out one.
Casto led the Vikings at the plate, going 1-for-3 with three RBI. Ford followed, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and Broedy Boyce went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Seidler took the loss for Park, allowing nine hits and seven runs (all earned) in two and a third innings of work. Ben Taylor and Trevor Thomas knocked in two runs a piece for the Patriots.
Ripley (8-5) returns to action tonight (Thursday) at home against regional foe Hurricane. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. from Viking Park.