LEIPSIC — Leipsic bounced out of the dugout with a full-tank of confidence.
And having its ace Dylan Schroeder on the mound probably had a lot to do with that.
Leipsic scored twice in the first inning and Schroeder took it from there as the Vikings knocked off Liberty-Benton 5-1 in a baseball game Saturday at Charlie Bennett Park.
L-B is 16-3 and slipped to 6-2 in the Blanchard Valley Conference. It entered the day tied for the top spot in the league with McComb (6-1 BVC).
Leipsic is 11-8, 4-3 in the BVC.
“That’s a huge confidence booster,” Schroeder said.
It was a crisp 46 degrees and windy, but the conditions didn’t seem to bother either pitcher.
Schroeder went the distance for the Vikings, as the right-hander threw his fastball, breaking ball and change-up for strikes.
He went seven innings, giving up one run, earned, on six hits. Schroeder struck out 11 and walked one.
Schroeder threw 116 pitches, 77 for strikes.
“I was mixing in a little bit of change-up,” Schroeder said.
Leipsic coach Darren Henry added, “He’s got a good fastball and a good breaking ball and he’s been working on a change-up.”
Henry wasn’t thinking of taking Schroeder out in the seventh, unless he reached the 125-pitch limit.
“He had 90 pitches early in the year and I took him out,” Henry said. … But that was early in the season. He’s ready to go now. Today he can get to 125.
“One thing, when he’s on the mound, it’s a little different. Everyone’s confidence is up a little bit.’’
Schroeder’s only tense moment came in the seventh.
L-B opened the final inning with singles by Mitchell Erdeljar and Cole Busch.
Schroeder then got the next two hitters on a fielder’s choice grounder to short and a strikeout.
But when he walked the No. 9 hitter Jack Slezak, it loaded the bases with Eagles with two out.
Schroeder then got Kaden Ebert to fly out to right to end it.
“I made it interesting,” Schroeder said with a laugh.
L-B coach Mark Rader liked what he saw from Schroeder.
“He locates well and was able to locate all of his off-speed pitches and he can throw them at any time, Rader said. “He started off a lot of our guys with curveballs for strikes. He’s a really good pitcher.’’
Leipsic went out to a 2-0 lead in the first.
Schroeder led off with a single and was bunted to second by Cole Rieman.
Tyler Hiegel delivered an RBI single to right and it was 1-0.
Hiegel went to third on an L-B infield error.
Trey Schroeder’s RBI groundout to short brought home Hiegel and it was 2-0.
L-B got within a run in the fourth.
L-B starting pitcher Race Gorrell doubled down the left-field line. He came home on Griffin Snider’s parachute RBI single to center to make it 2-1, Leipsic.
The Vikings came through with two-out RBI hits in both the fourth and the fifth innings.
Vikings designated hitter Lorenzo Walther lined a two-run, two-out double to right-center field to push the lead to 4-1 in the fourth.
In the fifth for the Vikings, Rieman walked and stole second.
This time it was Tyler Sickmiller with the two-out, RBI double to give the Vikings a 5-1 lead.
“The difference today was we scored early and we added on,” Henry said. “And today we has some clutch hitting, which we haven’t had.’’
Gorrell went all six innings for L-B, but two key errors behind him hurt.
He gave up five runs, only two earned, on seven hits. Gorrell struck out four and walked two.
He threw 93 pitches, 62 for strikes.
At the plate, Gorrell went 2 for 3.
For Leipsic, Hiegel was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Sickmiller was 2 for 3 with the RBI double.
Walther was 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI.
Henry hopes the victory can give his team some momentum for the tournament.
“It should (give us confidence),” Henry said. “This will definitely help us out. This was a big one today.’’
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