Swanton scored two unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie and defeat Evergreen in the Vikings’ home baseball opener.
The win raised the Bulldogs early season win total to 2-0.
“Defensively we were pretty solid”, explained Swanton coach Tim McCarthy. “They hit some ‘at ‘em’ balls that we made plays on. Our pitcher struggled early but we were fortunate to get some of those balls hit right at us and get out of those jams.”
It was the Bulldogs who made the most out of an early opportunity when Liam Bloom was hit by a pitch to start the game, stole second and scored on an error to give the ‘Dogs a 1-0 lead. That lead doubled in the third when Matt Kusz led off with a walk, stole second and rode home on Jacob Peabody’s single.
Evergreen threatened in the third when Kyle Brighton led off with a single and Jake Dowling walked to put runners on first and second with no outs.
However, Swanton starter Zach Turk got out of it when Jake Willeman’s line drive was right at second baseman Jordan Nyler, and third baseman Brady Harlett made a big play of Ethan VanLoocke’s hard ground ball to hold the Vikes scoreless.
Evergreen broke through in the fourth when Alex Sullivan singled, Alex Truckor walked and Nick Etue singled to load the bases with one out.
Brighton’s ground ball cut the Bulldog lead in half at 2-1.
Peabody walked to lead off the Bulldog fifth, rolled to third when a pickoff attempt went awry and after a hit batter, scored when Dowling got Harlett to hit into a double play.
Evergreen rallied to tie in the sixth as Sullivan led off with a walk, then with two outs, Brighton singled and both runners moved up on a wild pitch.
Then on a 3-2 pitch, Dowling rapped a base hit up the middle to mark both runs and knot the game at 3-3.
However, the Viking defense came unglued in the seventh as Peabody’s bunt was thrown away and two more Evergreen errors, one on another bunt, allowed two Swanton runs to give the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead.
“That’s just kind of how I was groomed as a coach using small ball as part of a successful program like Start when Coach Rich Arbinger was so big on small ball, so I just try to emulate that,” said McCarthy.
After giving up the tying runs in the sixth, Bloom worked a scoreless seventh to pick up the pitching victory for the Bulldogs.
Turk went the first five innings on the mound for Swanton, allowed only one run and five hits, walking four and getting two strikeouts.
Dowling went the distance for Evergreen, giving up six hits walking three and striking out nine. Only one of the runs he allowed was earned.