Junior trio lifts Vikings to 6-1 district victory

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
ST. JOSEPH -- Three juniors drove in all six runs as the Niles varsity baseball team won its pre-district contest with Dowagiac Tuesday afternoon at Riverview Park in St. Joseph.
Designated hitter Nick Downing, center fielder Josh Henry and right fielder Adrian Davis collected the six RBIs the Vikings needed to notch the 6-1 victory and move on to semifinal play in the Division 2 District Tournament against Coloma on Saturday.
Downing, a non-starter much of the season, came up with three singles and three RBIs to lead the Niles offense. Henry also hit three singles and drove in two runs. Davis hit a pair of singles, but his RBI came on a sacrifice fly.
A pair of Niles seniors also did their share to aid in the victory. Pitcher John Kessick gave up just four hits and struck out nine as he improved to 8-1 on the year. Third baseman Kyle Kidwell singled, scored a run and started a dazzling double play to end the game.
Dowagiac looked to be in control early on as David Stuppy led off the game with a single down the third-base line and the Chieftains (17-16) scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning.
The Vikings, now 22-9, matched Dowagiac's single run and took a one-run lead in the top of the third inning then seized the momentum for good after a 35-minute lightning delay in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The delay came with Dowagiac runners on first and second bases and no outs. After the delay, Rob Duszynski struck out, Scott Wilkinson hit into a fielder's choice play and was then picked off trying to steal second base.
Vota kept his players in the dugout during the weather delay and used the opportunity to settle them down. Kessick tossed five of his nine strikeouts after the rain delay and allowed two hits after the break.
Lyle Watson recorded the only extra-base hit of the game with a triple to right field. Davis' sacrifice fly scored Watson.
The Vikings managed 14 hits off Dowagiac pitchers Davey Moran (5-6) and Chris Singleton.
Niles faces Coloma at 10 a.m. Saturday before St. Joseph and Lakeshore square off in the other semifinal at 12:30 p.m. The championship game is set for 3 p.m.
The Vikings beat Coloma 6-4 earlier in the season with Kessick on the mound. Whether he will face the Comets again Saturday is up in the air.