WEST TERRE HAUTE — Coming into its Class 3A sectional, West Vigo trailed only Greencastle when it came to baseball sectional championships among its sectional partners.
After Saturday, the Vikings don’t trail the Tiger Cubs anymore.
West Vigo won its sectional with a 6-4 victory over South Vermillion on a rainy night at Dick Ballinger Field.
While it was West Vigo’s 12th all-time title, the same total as Greencastle, it was the first for several current Vikings. West Vigo last won a sectional crown in 2010.
“We’re really happy to bring it back to West Vigo,” West Vigo second baseman Alec Blair said. “We battled back and forth, but we were able to get it.”
West Vigo coach Steve DeGroote hailed the Vikings’ stick-to-itveness in coming from behind to win the game and the sectional.
“This is the 10th game in 11 days. These kids can’t get enough of baseball. They’re not down, tired or anything else. They’re filled with enthusiasm,” DeGroote said.
Every Viking contributed as eight of the nine players in the Vikings’ starting lineup reached base safely. Alec Blair’s three-run double and Brandin Behringer’s solo home run were the big blows for West Vigo. Seth Dickey was 3-for-4 in the losing cause for the Wildcats.
South Vermillion was on its game from the start. A Kaden Lawson double started a rally that put a run on the board in the first. Dickey hit a dribbler to the right of the mound. He beat the throw to first for a single, but Alec Blair’s toss sailed over West Vigo first baseman Brandin Behringer’s glove. Lawson came around to score on the error to make it 1-0.
The Wildcats tacked on two more in the third. Tyler Smith and Lawson walked and Seth Dickey hit a two-out single up the middle as West Vigo’s infield shifted. West Vigo center fielder Kyle Stewart’s throw home to get Smith was on-time, but the ball bounced off catcher Donnie Ames’ glove and went to backstop.
Smith scored and Lawson kept chugging and scored too as the Vikings couldn’t get the ball to home plate in time. South Vermillion led 3-0.
But not for long. Lawson, South Vermillion’s starting pitcher, lost his control in the bottom of the third as he gave up a leadoff single and then walked four Vikings, two with the bases loaded, to make it 3-2.
Blair came up with the bases loaded and atoned for his earlier error with a high fly ball to left. South Vermillion left fielder Del Dunegan lost the ball in the twilight and it dropped for a Blair double. It cleared the bases and West Vigo had a 5-3 lead.
“It was an important play in the outcome of the game. On another night, it might have been different, but it felt really good. I walked up there with confidence and got the hit,” Blair said.
The Vikings added to their lead when Behringer hit a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning to make it 6-3.
South Vermillion (16-8) brought the tying run up in the seventh. Smith scored in the seventh on a walk, a fly out and two wild pitches. Lawson was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on another wild pitch. West Vigo reliever Kevin Stewart struck out Dickey to end the threat.
The Wildcats’ season ended on a day where South Vermillion’s seniors also went through graduation ceremonies on Saturday afternoon.
“The kids played hard. They played with the most important muscle – the heart,” South Vermillion coach Tim Terry said. “This is such a good group to coach. We’ve had such a good time and that’s what hurts the most.”
West Vigo (21-5) next plays at 1 p.m. next Saturday at the Mount Vernon (Fortville) Regional. The Vikings play the winner of the North Montgomery Sectional. The winner at North Montgomery will be determined on Monday.
West Vigo 6, South Vermillion 4
SOUTH VERMILLION (AB-R-H-RBI) – Branz ss-p 4-0-0-0, Weyrauch 2b-ss 3-0-0-0, Lawson p-c 2-2-0-0, Dickey 3b 4-0-3-2, Shew pr 0-0-0-0, Luft 1b 3-0-1-0, Dunegan lf-2b 3-0-0-0, Jacobs dh 3-0-0-0, Terry rf 3-0-0-0, Smith cf 1-2-0-0, Morgan c-lf 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 26-4-4-2.
WEST VIGO (AB-R-H-RBI) – Ky. Stewart cf 4-0-0-0, Fagg p 4-1-1-0, Behringer 1b 2-2-1-1, Inman 3b 3-0-0-0, Bennett dh 3-1-0-0, Ames c 3-0-0-0, Schaffer ss 2-1-1-1, Kump lf 1-1-0-1, Blair 2b 2-0-1-3, Calleja 1b 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 24-6-4-6.
South Vermillion 102 000 1 – 4
West Vigo 005 100 X – 6
E – Lawson, Weyrauch; Blair. LOB – SV 6, WV 6. 2B – Lawson; Blair. HR – Behringer.
Lawson (L) 5 4 6 6 8 7
Branz 1 0 0 0 0 0
Fagg (W) 6 2/3 4 4 3 4 6
Kev. Stewart (SV) 1/3 0 0 0 0 1
WP – Lawson; Fagg 2, Kev. Stewart. HBP – by Fagg (Lawson). PB – Morgan.
Next – West Vigo (21-5) will play the North Montgomery Sectional winner at the Mount Vernon (Fortville) Regional at 1 p.m. next Saturday. South Vermillion concluded its season at 16-8.