It’s finally over.
Vinton-Shellsburg’s baseball team closed its 44-game losing streak with an 11-4 win to close a WaMaC West doubleheader Monday at South Tama.
“The long nightmare is over,” head coach and alum Cody Robertson said. “It was great to see for the kids.”
The Vikings (1-22, 1-17) rode the arm of senior Travis Hantz to the win. Hantz allowed just two earned runs across his seven-inning complete game effort, scattering six hits. He also hit three batters and walked two, but offset that with 11 strikeouts.
“Travis was our sparkplug,” Robertson said. “He commanded the zone the entire night, didn’t try to do too much. Defensively, we backed him up really well.
“He had great command of his curveball and fastball and threw only 40 pitches through the first four innings or so.”
Hantz ran into a little trouble during the Trojans’ three-run fifth, but came away relatively unscathed and threw 110 pitches. Vinton-Shellsburg led 8-1 at the time and didn’t allow South Tama’s barrage to get it down.
The Vikings added three runs over the next two innings.
“We’ve been trying to put together that full, seven-inning game, and we were able to,” Robertson said.
On offense “our lineup was good from top to bottom,” Robertson noted. The Vikings collected nine hits, eight walks and benefited from three hit batsmen. Every batter reached base once safely.
Kale Schulte was 3 for 3 with two runs batted in, a walk and three runs scored in what Robertson called “a great effort” from his No. 8 spot at the bottom of the order while Landyn Rowe went 2 for 4 with an RBI from the No. 9 spot.
The top of the order garnered the other nine hits and seven RBI. Quinn Cornell was 2 for 3 with four RBI and two walks to provide another big spark, Robertson said, including a key run-scoring single up the middle.
Brooks Erickson went 1 for 4 with two RBI and Curtis Erickson went 1 for 5 with an RBI. Curtis Erickson also stole a base.
Ethan Rollinger drew a pair of walks and was hit and scored three runs.
“We were patient at the plate, ended up drawing eight walks or so,” Robertson said. “And we had a bunch of timely hits. Our order definitely came through, top to bottom.”
Cornell also threw out a runner.
Robertson said the seeds for the victory were sewn in the opener, which was a 14-6 loss. The Vikings trailed just 7-5 before South Tama scored seven in the sixth inning of that contest,
“We scored a couple early and went blow for blow with them until the sixth,” Robertson said. “We gave ourselves enough chances to stay competitive and it carried over to Game 2.”
The Vikings had 12 hits in the second game. Rowe went 3 for 3, stole a base and drove in a run. Brooks Erickson and Levi Ferguson each went 2 for 4, with Ferguson driving in a run.
Cornell drove in a pair while Rollinger drove in a run and stole a base.