KIRTLAND–Villa Angela-St. Joseph scored a late run to top host Kirtland, 3-2, in a non-conference ball game Wednesday afternoon.
The Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a walk and an error but the Hornets responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
“We saw the same pitcher earlier in the year,” said Kirtland coach Luke Smrdel. “We had better at-bats against them today. We are going to keep seeing good pitchers all year so we have to keep making the adjustments, especially against good pitching to get the ball in play and move runners up and manufacture runs, and that will happen.”
Gage Sullivan hit a one-out single and Pierce Boyd doubled to put runners on second and third. Mason Rus then singled home Sullivan and Boyd scored on an error that left Kirtland up 2-1.
VASJ tied it in the second on a single, two walks, and a fielder’s choice.
The score remained that way until the sixth when the Vikings took the lead for good on a Mack Flynn RBI single.
Boyd took the hard-luck pitching loss after allowing just two earned runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of work. Rus threw the final 1 1/3 scoreless innings with one strikeout.
“I understood how they hit,” Boyd said. “Some guys can hit curveballs, some guys can hit fastballs, and just understand what they hit and don’t hit.”
Sullivan, Boyd, Rus, and Will Bates all recorded hits for the Hornets against VASJ starter Zac Tizzano, a 6-foot-4 lefty, who allowed two runs on four hits and fanned 14 in a complete-game victory.
Despite back-to-back losses and a 1-6 record this spring, Smrdel is confident the Hornets will continue to improve.
“I see a lot of growth at the plate,” Smrdel said. “Our approaches have gotten much better and we are learning how to put the ball in play and not strike out as much. Defensively, we’re getting all the plays down. It’s coming along, taking baby steps, and making some big strides in the next couple of weeks.”
Mack Flynn managed two hits and two runs batted in for the Vikings. Keyshawn Brown and Isiah Davis also recorded a hit.
The Hornets host Chalker on Thursday.