News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

April 12, 2014

West Vigo baseball drops first two in Center Grove Classic

GREENWOOD — West Vigo hammered the baseball all over the field and had a double-digit lead through three innings early in the week at Seeger before rain washed it out short of a complete game.

So Saturday morning, the Vikings took the field in Center Grove’s Trojan Classic knowing very little about themselves. By the end of the day, the Vikings were 0-2, but were well aware of their weaknesses.

Center Grove beat West Vigo 12-2 in six innings in the first round, then the Vikings’ rally came up short 16-12 against Mt. Vernon in the consolation game.

“I would rather have this happen than go blow some team out by 25 runs and not get anything out of it. We come here to find out what we got, what we need to work on. When you play good teams like Center Grove, like Mt. Vernon, you’re going to get exposed. That’s what we want. We want to play teams that are going to bring the best out of us,” coach Culley DeGroote said.

West Vigo’s inexperienced pitching staff was often the victim of its defense. Besides the mental errors that DeGroote addressed after the game, the Vikings committed six errors against Center Grove and three against Mt. Vernon.

“The most disappointing part of the day was all the errors. We don’t usually do that. We had some costly errors. I think we’re a little green,” DeGroote said.

That hurt the young Viking pitchers. Davie Inman, who had a good day at the plate, was the starting and losing pitcher against Center Grove, giving up 11 hits and six runs, four earned. In game two, Logan Klotz was the first of four Viking hurlers.

“We lost all of our pitching last year. All three of those guys are gone. It’s going to take a little bit of time for our pitching staff to fill into their roles. Once our pitchers figure out what their roles are, I think that will help,” DeGroote said.

West Vigo, ranked seventh in Class 3A this week, managed only four hits off Center Grove sophomores Jacob Cantleberry and Joey Drury. Brandin Behringer led the Vikings with two singles.

In the consolation game, Inman hit two home runs and had four RBIs and Behringer had home run and double in a three-RBI game. Derrick Bennett and Alec Blair each had three singles.

“I think we’ll hit. I think we’ll put up runs. We just got to figure out who are pitchers are, what pitchers are starting, what are relieving and what are closing,” DeGroote said.

But what made DeGroote’s day was the fight the Vikings showed in game two.

After losing a 10-run rule game to Center Grove, the Vikings fell behind Mt. Vernon 10-3, but battled back to within a run, 10-9, then 11-10 and had the tying and go-ahead runners on base when Mt. Vernon got the third out.

“Even game two, we’re behind 8-2, 10-3 and then battled back to 10-9. We showed a lot of toughness, a lot of competitiveness,” DeGroote pointed out.

In the consolation game, the Vikings took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Inman reached base on an error and Behringer blasted a home run.

Mt. Vernon tied the score 2-2 in the second, then exploded for eight runs on five hits and one error and three base on balls. Down 10-2, the Vikings scored one if the third when Behringer drove a run-scoring double to the fence. West Vigo scored two more in the fourth when Inman hit his first home run, cutting the gap to 10-5.

With West Vigo’s Travis Reese and Zach Edwards holding Mt. Vernon scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, the Vikings closed to within one run, 10-9, with a four-run fifth inning.

Alex West reached base on an error to lead off West Vigo’s fifth inning. Blair received a base on balls and Justin Kump doubled to bring in West and move Blair to third base. Blair scored on Edwards’ sacrifice fly to left field, bringing Inman to the plate.

Inman did it again, blasting his second home run of the day to cut the Mt. Vernon lead to 10-9. The Vikings were alive and fighting.

Jordan Schaffer kept the rally going with a single and moved to second on an error. Mt. Vernon intentionally walked Behringer and that was followed by two ground balls to end the inning.

Mt. Vernon added a single run in the sixth and five insurance runs in the seventh to finish the game.

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