May 8, 2021 — “I am really proud of the effort given by the team today. It was a weird circumstance to have to finish up this game,” said Coach Tom Shinn of the Vikings’ baseball team’s execution in Tuesday’s (May 4) first game at Elmira.
It was indeed a strange situation, as Siuslaw’s first game against Elmira on Tuesday was actually the second half of a game which started the first week of the season on April 16, as game two of a home doubleheader.
That first doubleheader went late, so the umpires had to call the game after only three innings, leading to Siuslaw and Elmira rescheduling the second half of game two for the schools’ next meeting — which ended up being this past week.
Although the Vikings were playing on the road, they were technically “at home” for the first game on Tuesday, starting on defense at the top of the fourth inning, behind 8-13.
With Elijah Blankenship pitching to Jason Garcia, and half a season more of experience behind the team, they picked up where they left off with full speed.
Garcia caught a pop fly early in the inning, followed by another pop fly caught by Henry Rankin on first base. The Falcons were able to get two men on base in the inning but were quickly put out a third time by Rankin, who had an assist from Isaac Garza at second base.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Falcons were also able to hold the Viks at 0 runs, so the score remained at 8-13 in favor of Elmira to start the fifth inning.
The Falcons’ next at-bat went quickly as well, with three pop flies caught by Ian Sissel in the outfield, bringing the Vikings back to the plate. They started with a double from Clay Kramer, who then advanced to second base after a bunt from Victor Reyna-Ayala, who was tagged out at first.
Next up was Noah Dotson, who brought Kramer home on an RBI. Dotson was then able to steal second base, however Blankenship struck out and Garza was put out next, ending the inning at 9-13 in favor of Elmira.
The top of the sixth inning went quickly for the Falcons, but they were able to get 1 run in before it ended, bringing the score to 9-14.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Viks pushed back even harder.
Garcia hit a single, followed by Sissel hitting a second single. Both men stole a base to position themselves at second and third as Beau Erickson stepped up to the plate. Erickson then hit a triple, earning 2 RBIs and, because of errors on the Falcons side, was able to make it home — bringing in 3 runs for the inning and putting the Vikings a mere 2 runs behind Elmira.
Rankin also hit a single before the next three batters were unfortunately struck out to end the inning.
In the final inning, Elmira had a single and a double for an RBI straightaway, but had their next batter tagged out at second base by Garza. They were able to hit another single for an RBI before their final two put outs — on a pop fly caught by Garza, and the second an assist from Garcia to Rankin at first, ending the inning at 12-16 with the Falcons in the lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Blankenship came out swinging with a triple, then stole home to bring the score to 13-16. Garza was then walked but tagged out at second base when Garcia hit a single.
The Falcons next walked Sissel, leaving two runners on base for the Vikings, but had two more quick put outs to end the game.
Said Shinn, “Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit. We hit the ball the best we have all season, between the two days of this game.”
The Vikings then went on to play the Falcons for game two of the afternoon.
Siuslaw struggled to score any runs until the fifth inning, where they picked up 5, however Elmira had scored 11 in the first 4 innings, so the Viks were behind 5-11.
In the sixth, the Vikings scored 2 more runs and the Falcons picked up 1 more, which brought the score to 7-12 in Elmira’s favor. At the top of the seventh inning, the Viks were unable to score, ending the game 7-12 in favor of the Falcons.
“While the total number of hits for this game is low, we put the ball in play several times with well-hit balls that found their ways into Elmira gloves,” said Shinn. “The big inning hurt us again, but the resiliency of the team shone through in pushing the game to seven innings.”
The Viks traveled to Marshfield yesterday for a doubleheader (after press deadlines.)
Siuslaw begins its final week of scheduled league play next week, with their last home game scheduled for this Tuesday (May 11) against Marist, when Siuslaw will be recognizing the seniors on the team.
First pitch goes out at 5 p.m.