NEW CASTLE – St. Elizabeth dodged one threat in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Vikings’ nonconference baseball game against Hodgson on April 5, but there would be no second such escape. Donnie Weaver’s single scored C.J. Deery as the Silver Eagles stretched their season-opening winning streak to five at a windy and cold Wilson Field.
The score was tied at four heading into Hodgson’s final at bat. With one out, Ryan Speed hit a high fly toward right-center field, but the wind carried the ball in the direction of the foul line. The ball fell in, and Speed reached third with a triple. Deery walked, and with runners at the corners, Connor Megginson laid down a safety squeeze bunt toward first base. St. Elizabeth first baseman Brett Brooks scooped it up and fired to catcher Chris Strickland, who tagged a sliding Speed out.
The joy was short-lived, however, for the Vikings. Weaver smacked a sharp grounder to second base, but the ball hit something in the grass and took a high hop, hitting second baseman Tom Maddams in the shoulder and continuing into right field. Deery, on the run as there were two outs, scored to end the game.
The walkoff was made necessary by a Vikings comeback in the top of the frame. Nate Thomas, who reached base three times, drilled a triple to the warning track in right field. Brooks walked, and on an 0-2 pitch, he took off for second. The throw went into center field, allowing Thomas to score and cut the lead to 4-3. Strickland tied the game one batter later when he doubled to left.
Hodgson took advantage of walks early on to build a lead. Shawn Haut walked and eventually scored on a Vikings throwing error. Deery, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, came around to score on a Megginson single.
The Silver Eagles added a run to the lead in the second. Weaver walked and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. After a strikeout, two more walks loaded the bases. The Vikings recorded a force at home for the second out, but Greg Hamrick worked a base on balls to bring Jared Owens home with the third run.
The Vikings worked some two-out magic to get back in the game in the top of the third. Brooks and Hayden Trimarco singled, and Strickland launched a wind-blown fly ball over the head of Deery in center, scoring both runners. Deery got his revenge in the bottom of the frame, scoring on an infield single by Weaver.
Deery picked up the win in relief of Megginson, tossing 2.2 innings. The pair combined to allow six hits while striking out 13. Deery also stood out at the plate, scoring three runs. The Silver Eagles (5-0) begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at William Penn.
For the Vikings, Thomas took the loss, although he and starter Trimarco surrendered just three hits and struck out eight. Strickland had two hits and three RBI for the Vikings (1-3), who will try to end a three-game losing streak Saturday at 11 a.m. against Brandywine at Canby Park. That game, of course, is weather permitting because of anticipated snow.