The HNHS Viking baseball team got the proverbial Homestead monkey off their back with a dramatic finish in their sectional opener. Zach Geyer, pinch running for Evan Brown, scored the winning run in the bottom of the 7th inning to win 8-7. With the game tied going into the bottom of the seventh, Evan Brown coaxed a leadoff walk off Homestead reliever Jake Weber. Zach Geyer was inserted as a pinch runner and Ethan Bartrom was safe at first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt when he and Weber collided at the bag. In a heads up play, Geyer advanced to third as the ball got away from Weber in the collision. With runners at the corners and no outs, Trent Sherman hit a ground ball to 3rd base and the Homestead first baseman mishandled the low throw allowing Geyer to score the winning run.
On a day when the wind was bowing out the Vikings used 4 long balls to put up their first seven runs. Trailing 2-0 entering the bottom of the 1st on an Andre Jernigan two run bomb, Kendall Whitman and Evan Brown answered with solo shots to tie things up. Jared Green then gave the Vikes the lead in the bottom of the second sending a 2 run shot over the left field scoreboard. The score would stay 4-2 until the top of the fifth when Homestead would take a 6-4 lead scoring 4 runs on 4 hits. The Vikes answered right back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mitch Trieglaff and Evan Brown walked back to back to give the Vikes two on with no outs and catcher Ethan Bartrom up next. He jumped on a first pitch fastball sending it over the centerfield fence for a three shot giving the Vikes a one run lead. Bartrom’s blast was the team’s 43rd home run of the season. Homestead would tack on another run in the top of the 6th to set up the final inning dramatics.
Kendall Whitman got the win on the mound pitching 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Ethan Daggett. He allowed 1 run on 3 hits and striking out two against on walk. Daggett gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in the first 4 1/3 innings; he struck out 4 Homestead batters while only walking one. Brown led the Vikes at the plate going 2-2 with an RBI and Green was 2-3 with 2 RBI’s. The Vikings take on Jay County at 10am Monday in the semi-final with the winner advancing to the championship game at 5pm on Monday as well.