By: Joe Blystone
SWANTON – The old saying of “it’s better to be late than never” was evident as Evergreen scored seven times in the last three innings to score a 9-4 comeback win over Swanton in a 3-hour plus marathon at Swanton.
“We went down two and it was good to see a bunch of guys playing their first varsity game having only three or four back from last year, to come out and get some hits to get back in it,” Viking coach Mark Cymbolin said.
“For those guys to get hits at key times to tie the game and put us up were big.”
The Vikings went up in the top of the first against starter Luke Marlow, when Colton Robertson looped a single to center, stole second and rode home when Layne Vance rifled a sharp single to center.
Vance stole second and raced home on Andrew Geer’s base hit up the middle for a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered back with single runs in their first four frames.
Brady Kanneman hit Marlow with a pitch then Trent Eitniear rolled a single to right to put runners at firest and third.
Kanneman struck out Drake Harris but when the ball was mishandled, Marlow scored to chop the Viking lead in half.
Swanton marked an unearned run in the second on an error and Marlow’s RBI hit to knot the game, then took a 3-2 in the third when Drew Smigelski singled, then came home on a steal and a pair of errors on the same play.
The Bulldogs doubled their lead in the fourth on two hit batters, a pair of catcher indifferences and Eitniear’s ground out.
“For not being outside as much as we would like to be at this point, we figured our defense and situational plays wouldn’t be as sharp as we would want,” expressed Cymbolin.
“We can’t give away free bases, we don’t have the offense firepower to allow that.” From that point though, it was all Evergreen.
The Vikings tied the game in the fifth against Eitniear on a hit batter, a walk, a two-out wild pitch, and Isaac Overfield’s line drive hit up the middle then took the lead for good in the sixth on the Bulldogs Ryan O’Shea.
Vance reached on a one-out error, then a walk, wild pitch and dropped third strike loaded the bases.
Kanneman’s base hit put Evergreen ahead, then a bases jacked walk and Overfield’s fielder’s choice added two more for a 7-4 margin.
Evergreen got two more in the seventh on a trio of walks, a hit batter and a ground out.
“Our plate appearances and our at-bats were pretty good, we didn’t strike out very much, only three for the game,” explained Cymbolin regarding the Vikings offense.
“Hopefully our defense will pick up and I think the more we get outside, that will happen.”
Kanneman went the first four for the Vikings allowing four hits, two earned runs while walking one and striking out five.
Vance got the victory going the last three innings. The sophomore righty gave up one hit and struck out four, including the side int he seventh.
Oshea took the loss for Swanton.
EVERGREEN 200 023 2 – 9 9 1
SWANTON 111 100 0 – 4 7 4
Records: Evergreen 1-0, Swanton 0-1
WINNING PITCHER: Kanneman (4 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks) Other: Vance
LOSING PITCHER: Marlow (4 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned, 1 walk) Other: Eitniear, Oshea, Lemons
LEADING HITTERS: (Evergreen) Robertson – 2 singles, 2 runs; Overfield – 2 singles, 2 RBIs; (Swanton) Smigelski – 2 singles
Joe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org