May 22, 2012 — Even with district tournaments upon us, the Rowan County Vikings did not forget to finish the regular season.
Last Thursday night, Rowan baseball grabbed another win amid a last season push to the postseason, defeating Greenup County in emphatic fashion, 7-6.
The Vikings’ home finale featured a matchup against the region’s fourth ranked team. Despite the daunting task, Rowan’s boys came through in a big way, with shortstop Harold Chapman playing the hero in the final at bat of the night.
Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh and two outs, the junior connected with a game-winning groundball between second and third, signaling the go-ahead runs for the home team.
Chapman spoke with The Morehead News about his grounder.
“I didn’t mind the pressure when I stepped up there,” Chapman said. “I just waited for the right pitch to come my way and just swung the bat as best I could…and it worked out pretty well.”
Perhaps the most promising aspect of the game was Rowan’s response to a familiar situation, one that has went the other way several times this year.
Several hits in the third by veteran Vikings, including Jordan Cornett, Justin Lewis and Casey Pennington allowed the boys in green to put several runners in scoring position.
Cornett’s pinch runner Tyler Arthur and Lewis found their way home when Pennington ripped a line drive in the right field gap, giving Rowan County a 4-1 advantage.
On the fielding side, the Vikings held strong throughout most of the game.
Chapman derailed a Musketeer scoring threat when made a nice catch on a hard ground ball, making the toss to first for the out to end Greenup’s third at bat.
The Vikings were able to push their lead to 6-1 in the fourth as senior Brayden Mosher and John Curry found pay dirt on a single RBI by Chapman.
Rowan County Head Coach Jason Davis said he knew a five-run advantage against the Musketeers was not a sign of breathing room.
“Greenup is one of the better teams in the region,” Davis said. “They have solid hitting and have confidence, we knew they try and make a run.”
Christin Wireman started that run when he hit a single to bring in Brian Boyle to cut Rowan’s lead to 6-2.
The Musketeers scored four more runs in the inning before Mosher made a play on the ball at third to end the frame.
Tied at 6 apiece, the Vikings fell victim to two fly outs before Mosher kick-started the offense with a hard hit line drive up the middle.
Pennington then laid down a perfect bunt to tally a single before Chapman played the hero with the game-winning hit to plate Mosher.
“It was great to see us win this game tonight, and it was an awesome feeling to get that hit,” Chapman said. “We’ve been playing pretty good baseball lately, and we’ve gained a lot of confidence as we’ve picked up these close wins.”
Following the win, the Vikings now look to the opening round of the 61st District tournament.
Set to face Bath County last night after presstime, a team which the Vikings have suffered close defeats to twice during the season, Davis appeared confident in his team’s chances.
“You know, we have been playing some pretty darn good baseball over the past month and a half, and that means a lot,” Davis said. “We had a slow start but we always knew we had a good team. Come Monday night, we feel we have a pretty solid chance of winning that game and advancing. We will be ready.”
Pick up Friday’s edition of The Morehead News to see if the Vikings moved on to compete for district gold.
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.