Inning after inning Evergreen pulled a magic act, getting out of trouble time and time again against Northern Buckeye Conference co-favorite Otsego Monday in non-league baseball.
However, the Knights cashed in the last threat in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie and defeat the Vikings 2-1 to drop Evergreen to 0-2 on the season.
The base on balls again was a problem for the Vikings.
Will Varner led off the game drawing a walk from Viking starter Dave Moore.
Ian Kress followed with a flare to left for a hit and David Silva beat out an infield hit to load the bases with no one out.
Moore escaped that threat, allowing a single run on a ground out before recording two strikeouts to end the inning.
Ben Gray’s leadoff hit and two more walks loaded the bases with one out in the second for Otsego, but again the Vikes got out a jam with a pitcher-home-to-first double play to keep the margin at one.
The Vikings got to Knight starter Levi Gonyer in the second.
Josh Dowling led off with a single, went to second on David Carroll’s sacrifice, and flew home on Moore’s base hit to right.
Otsego again threatened in the fourth when Gray walked and Moore hit Zach Davies with a pitch to end his day on the bump.
Bryce Hudik came in and extinguished the fire with two strikeouts, one against the dangerous Varner, and a force play to keep the score tied.
Evergreen put together a threat in the fifth when Moore reached on an error, went to second on a sacrifice by Sam Lubinski, and advanced to third on Bryce Eisel’s infield hit.
However on a squeeze attempt, Gonyer delivered a pitch in the opposite batter’s box, too wide to get the bat on, and pinch-runner Adam Baumgartner was tagged out to basically put a stop to the Evergreen rally.
Otsego finally broke through in the sixth when Davies’ hooking drive to left got down and past a diving Eisel for a double and Rancin Loftis smacked a 1-2 pitch to deep right for a two-bagger that put the Knights on top.
Evergreen put together a two-out threat in the bottom of the seventh when Lubinski and Eisel each reached on two-strike infield hits.
However, Silva made a good play on Zack Lumbrezer’s hard grounder to short and the Knights got the favorable end of the call at second against the hustling Eisel to end the game.
Gonyer gave up just five hits, two by Eisel, did not walk a batter and struck out seven to get the win.
Hudik took a hard luck loss despite allowing just two hits, walking two, one of which was intentional, and striking out two in his four innings of relief.
Moore allowed three hits, walked five and struck out four.
The Vikings are back in action Saturday against Montpelier before beginning NWOAL play Monday at Bryan.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org