Vikings drop heartbreaker

Published 8:34 pm Monday, June 18, 2018

NORTHWOOD — The Northwood-Kensett baseball team hosted Eagle Grove Monday afternoon hoping to get back on a winning streak after dropping a one-run game last Friday.

It looked like it was going to be a good day for the Vikings early, but despite leading the game by as many as nine runs, they were unable to finish the game ahead, falling 21-19.

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The Eagles put up one run in the top of the first inning, in what would turn out to be a high-scoring game. The Vikings responded by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring six runs in the first.

Northwood-Kensett freshman Brandon Varner hits a single Monday afternoon against Eagle Grove. Varner would go 3-6 at the plate for the Vikings. – Tyler Julson/Albert Lea Tribune

Sophomore Caden Schrage hit two singles, bringing in one run, and freshman Cade Hengesteg hit an RBI-single as well. Junior Gavin Varner, freshmen Ethian Tasker and Kael Julseth, and senior Garrett Thompson, were each walked. Two passed balls and an error by the Eagles led to three additional runs for the Vikings.

Northwood-Kensett’s defense looked strong in the second inning, sitting down the first three batters they saw.

The Vikings again took the initiative on offense, this time coming up one batter short of hitting through their lineup for the second consecutive inning. Thompson and Tasker each had RBI-singles and freshman Isaac Renteria hit a sacrifice fly to score a run.

After two full innings, the Vikings led the Eagles 9-1 and looked to be in firm control of the game.

Eagle Grove came back with a four-run third inning to trim the Viking lead, but the Vikings answered right back with  a three-run inning of their own.

Gavin Varner and Tasker each notched a solo home run, and senior Colton Moretz would tag up and score on a Hengesteg sacrifice fly.

The Eagles made a dent in the lead in the fourth with one run. However, once again, the Vikings responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Gavin Varner hit a two-RBI double, followed immediately with Moretz hitting an RBI double. The Vikings took  a nine-run lead, their largest of the game, into the fifth inning.

Eagle Grove then got a surge of momentum, scoring six runs in what would be its highest-scoring inning of the game. Northwood-Kensett did come back with a four run inning, but a swing in momentum was evident.

Schrage, Moretz and Hengesteg each had an RBI-single and a passed ball put Northwood-Kensett back on top by seven runs with two innings to play.

However, the Eagles continued their hot streak at the plate, scoring four runs and narrowing the lead to three. The Vikings were unable to get anything going offensively after a double by Thompson to start the inning. Thompson would be left  at third to end the inning with the score still in favor of the Vikings, 19-16.

Northwood-Kensett looked like they might escape with a win after recording two outs while Eagle Grove had only scored two runs.

However, a huge triple would net the Eagles three more runs  and put the Vikings behind for the first time since the middle of the first inning.

The Vikings threatened in the bottom of the seventh by loading the bases with singles from Gavin Varner and Moretz and a walk from Renteria, but they were unable to push any of them across, losing in heartbreaking fashion.

Tasker started on the mound for the Vikings, pitching four innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits and striking out eight batters.

Five Vikings made relief appearances in the game. Freshman Ross DeArmoun, senior Trey Waldemar, Hengesteg, Schrage and Brandon Varner all totaled three innings pitched, giving up 14 runs on seven hits and striking out three batters.

The Vikings scored 19 runs on 21 hits and recorded three errors. The Eagles scored 21 runs on 15 hits and recorded three errors.

The Vikings drop to 6-7 on the season and will look for redemption Tuesday night when they travel to Riceville to take on the 6-9 Wildcats.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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