WEST TERRE HAUTE —
Wind? What wind?
Brown County’s Tanner Hamm and West Vigo’s Zach Edwards could have asked those questions after the first game of a high school baseball doubleheader between the Western Indiana Conference foes Saturday at West Vigo.
On a day when any baseball hit in the air seemed certain to land somewhere it wasn’t supposed to land, those two blasted home runs into the teeth of the gale before the Vikings finally prevailed 12-6 in the game that counted in the WIC standings.
West Vigo also won the nonconference game by a 7-1 score.
The visiting Eagles haven’t beaten the Vikings often since the two became conference rivals, but the top of the first inning Saturday made it appear that a changing of the guard would be in order. With one out, Chase Snider ripped a single to center, Alex Walker followed with a line shot that the wind duck-hooked into the left-field corner for a double and then Hamm hit a ball that no one thought was possible, a towering drive well beyond the fence.
“They can swing it,” Viking coach Culley DeGroote said of the Eagles after the game.
Viking pitcher Dacoda Watson is a senior with limited varsity experience, but he grew up in a hurry after the rocky start. He struck out the last two batters in the first, stranded three baserunners in the second, then breezed through the next three innings.
“Dacoda Watson had a great day,” DeGroote said. “He settled down, mixed up his speeds, and he changed the game.”
Watson also got immediate help from his teammates — and indirectly from the wind.
Davie Inman led off the bottom of the first by lining a rope over the head of the center fielder for a triple. Then came two walks, the second in an at-bat prolonged by a swirling foul ball that was dropped; a failed fielder’s choice; and a muffed line drive that was also dancing on its way to the outfield.
By that time the score was tied, and a hit by Alec Blair loaded the bases. Watson helped himself with a two-out, two-run single and West Vigo was ahead — for good, as it turned out.
“I thought our hitters had some really good at-bats in the bottom of the first,” DeGroote said. “They responded to what [the Eagles] did in the top of the inning.”
It was still a 5-3 game with one out in the bottom of the third when Blair suffered his first of two beanings for the game. Then Edwards — a 135-pounder who looked more likely to blow away himself than to defy the wind in his face — launched his first high school homer. A wind-blown single by Jordan Schaffer and a run-scoring wild pitch made it 8-3 before that inning was over.
“I hit one [home run] in Little League,” Edwards finally recalled after the game. “I just went up looking for a first-pitch fastball, I got one, and I tried to put a good swing on it.”
Edwards added a run-scoring double in the fourth — center fielder Luke Huls just missing a diving catch — and West Vigo threatened to end the game early in the bottom of the fifth. The Vikings built their lead to 12-3 with a three-run rally that included just one hit — a double by Schaffer that turned an outfielder around twice — and left the bases loaded one tally short of a 10-run lead.
That gave Brown County a chance to rally, and the Eagles did. A leadoff walk, the only two Viking errors, a hit by Dakota Isley and a run-scoring double by Snider produced three unearned runs even though Edwards and Schaffer turned a double play. But Watson got the last out, and Travis Reese pitched a one-two-three seventh inning.
“We’ve just got to put a full game together,” said coach Kyle Heminger of the Eagles, who already have a come-from-behind win over South Vermillion on their conference resume this spring. “When we do, we can play a little bit.”
Edwards, who also had a bases-loaded walk in the opener, added his fifth RBI in the second game while Justin Kump, Brandin Behringer and Inman had two hits each.
WEST TERRE HAUTE —
Wind? What wind?
- High School
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- More High School Headlines
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