It was a team effort as the Vikings played fundamentally sound baseball on April 5 to beat the Oak Park Eagles 4-1 to gain their second win in two days. Getting the bunt down to move runners, hitting the long fly balls to get runners home from third base, and making the plays in the field, the Vikings look like a revitalized team as they have now won two of their last three games and could easily be 3-0 in the Babe Herman Tournament.
Junior Albert Garcia who entered the game against the Eagles in the fourth inning as a pinch hitter, was responsible for two of the four Viking’s runs – hitting long sacrifice flies in both of his at bats. His long fly ball to left in the fourth inning brought home sophomore Lino Lares and the other sacrifice fly came in the sixth to bring home senior Abraham Osuna and made the score 4-1. Osuna was also responsible for hitting a sacrifice fly in the second inning that enabled junior Davie Tyre-vigil to tag up from third and score the Viking’s first run. Sophomore Alex Turner had two hits and senior Matthew Stancil had an RBI double to score Turner in the third inning.
Senior Brandon Hirschberger started for the Vikings and pitched well until the third inning when he seemed to lose command of his pitches. He started out strong, striking out four of the first six batters he faced and in the third inning he struck out the last batter he faced. But before he did, he gave up a hit and walked three. One of which was with the bases loaded and accounted for the only run the Eagles scored all game.
“Brandon was upset with himself and wanted to stay in the game, but I told him sometimes you can’t try to chip away at the plate. He has to learn that sometimes when he doesn’t have his best stuff he can’t give in to the batter by walking him. Sometimes he just has to see how far he can hit it. He has to learn to challenge the batter and let him beat him instead of beating himself by walking in runs,” said Coach Sheldon Philip-Guide. “He’ll be fine when we start league play. He’s a good pitcher. He just has to learn to trust his team behind him.”
Sophomore Mathew Franco started the fourth inning for the Vikings in place of Hersberger. He threw two scoreless innings and then sophomore Tyler Mulvaney pitched the seventh to close out the game. Both young pitchers did a good job and held the Oak Park Eagles hitless and without a run, combining for five strikeouts.
When Coach Philip-Guide was asked what the difference between about his team now compared to when it lost its first twelve games, he had a one word answer: “Attitude.” He explained that the team is now playing with the attitude that they can beat anyone and believes with their new-found attitude, “they will be a force to reckon with once league play begins.”
There is one more game left to play in the Babe Herman Tournament but the location or team the Vikings will be playing the El Segundo Eagles today at 3:15 p.m. at Samohi’s field.