Niles’ Morgan Ricker tracks down a fly ball against Buchanan Wednesday. The Vikings and the Bucks split a non-league doubleheader. (Daily Star Photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Archived Story

Vikings split with Buchanan

Published 11:15pm Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BUCHANAN — When the Division 2 District pairings came out, Niles softball found itself paired against Dowagiac, which was supposed to be the Vikings’ opponent Wednesday.

Both coaches agreed that they didn’t want to play back-to-back, so Niles went looking for a different opponent. They didn’t have to look far.

The Vikings traveled to Buchanan Wednesday to face the Bucks in a non-conference doubleheader and came away with a split, dropping the first game 8-5 before rebounding to win the second game 7-4.

It appeared as if the Vikings failed to show up for the game on time as Buchanan scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning on seven hits to claim the early 8-0 lead.

Brooke Wilson relieved Molly VanDeKeere and shut the Bucks down the rest of the game.

“We had a pretty dominate performance by a pitcher (Wilson) who hadn’t pitched all year,” claimed Niles head coach Ryan Frontczak.

After falling behind 8-0 in the first the Vikings started to slowly battle their way back in to the game scoring one in the top of the fourth inning, and then four more in the fifth cutting the score to 8-5 with two innings remaining. Unfortunately for the Vikings they were unable to get the big hit when they needed it most and Buchanan held on for the 8-5 victory.

Wilson started the second game for the Vikings and picked up where she had left off in game one, but this time she took the mound with a lead in her back pocket.

The Vikings started the nightcap much better and faster than the first game. After a couple of outs, Tala Gentry got on for the Vikings and she was able to trot around the bases as the next batter, Sarah Cramer, crushed a shot to straight-away centerfield to give the Vikings the early 2-0 lead.

Buchanan tried to rally themselves in the bottom half of the inning as they managed to load the bases with nobody out before Wilson was able to retire the next three batters and leave the bases loaded and Buchanan off the scoreboard.

In the second inning, Morgan Ricker led off the inning with a single. After advancing to second, she scored on a bunt single by Larkin Carey. Carey advance to second herself, and scored on a bunt single by Olivia Jordan giving the Vikings the 4-0 lead after two innings.

“We played great small ball, and put a lot of pressure of them,” said Frontczak.

Buchanan had another opportunity in the bottom of the third with runners on second and third with one out, but once again Wilson managed to get herself out of a jam leaving two runners in scoring position.

After Niles left runners on second and third in the top of the fourth inning,  the Bucks finally cracked the score column as Kaitlynn Enders and MacKenzie Orphanidis connected on back to back doubles, with Enders scoring on Orphanidis’ shot. Orphanidis would then score on a single by Erin Glavin cutting the Niles lead in half 4-2.

Cramer singled for the Vikings to start the fifth and the runner would eventually cross the plate extended the lead to 5-2.

After a scoreless bottom half of the inning the Vikings went on the attack again as Carey led off with a single and stole second. Jordan then laid down another perfectly executed bunt single scoring Carey. After a single by Gentry put runners on second and third it was Cramer once again driving in a run with an infield groundout bringing the score to 7-2 in the sixth inning.

The Bucks tried to threaten in the bottom half of the seventh as they started out with three-straight hits, but could only manage two runs bringing the final score to 7-4.

“Other than that first inning I thought we were pretty flat,” claimed an obviously frustrated Buchanan coach Mike Welsh. “It was a good win for us the first game, but I told the girls when you put up eight runs against a good team you can’t just sit on the lead, you have to keep putting up numbers.”

“We fell a little short in that first game, but we battled back the rest of the night. I am really proud of these girls,” claimed a pleased Frontczak.

In game two Cramer led the way for the Vikings with a homerun, a single and three RBIs while Jordan pitched in with three singles and two RBIs. While for Buchanan, Glavin had three singles and an RBI and Brianna Turnock had two singles.

First game

Niles 000 140 0 – 5 6

Buchanan 800 000 x – 8 10

Kaitlynn Enders (W), Jordan Wregglesworth and Jayla Carrigan; Molly VanDekeere (L), Brook Wilson and Kylee Myer

2B: Jayla Carrigan (BU), Brittany Schmidt (BU)

3B: Tala Gentry (N)

Second game

Niles 220 012 0 – 7 11

Buchanan 000 200 2 – 4 8

Brooke Wilson (W) and Hannah Porterfield; Jordan Wregglesworth (L) and Jayla Carrigan

2B: Morgan Ricker (N), Kaitlyn Enders (BU), MacKenzie Orphanidis (BU)

HR: Sarah Cramer (N)

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