Being shutout and no hit in the first game of the season by Otsego was not the way Evergreen coach Brian Nagy wanted his youthful Vikings to start the season.
However, Evergreen rebounded in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader behind stellar pitching from David Moore and last inning help from freshman Bryce Hudik to claim a 1-0 win in the nightcap, salvaging a split on the day.
“I thought we pitched well all day,” said Nagy. “We didn’t throw as many strikes in the first game as we would’ve liked but in the second game David did a good job. He got some help from his defense when we absolutely needed it. We got just enough offensively, when you win 1-0 you sure can’t say we were an offensive juggernaut. Yes we are young and our young guys had a lot of things they had to learn today and we’ll try to keep getting better every game.”
Things could only go up for the Vikings as Hunter Carson rolled through the Evergreen lineup in the first game, allowing just a pair of walks while striking out 13.
Meanwhile, Nick Etue did not give up an earned run but was a victim of his own wildness and some shoddy defense as Otsego scored three in the first.
A leadoff walk, a two-out error and an infield hit filled the bases before Brant Kitchen looped a single down the right field line to score a pair and put runners on the corners. A well executed double steal brought home a third before a ground ball ended the inning.
Etue walked the first two in the second but catcher Noah Eisel helped get the Vikings out of trouble when he blew away a Knight runner trying to steal and Etue escaped by getting a fly to center and a ground out.
However, a couple of walks to open the Otsego fourth ended Etue’s day on the mound and reliever Teagen Pinkelman’s throwing error marked a fourth Otsego unearned run.
Pinkelman settled in, giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out five in his four innings of solid relief.
Etue took the loss to give up just three hits, but walking six with two strikeouts.
In the second of the twin bill, Moore got the only run he needed in the first when Alec Truckor walked, stole second, went to third on Pinkelman’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Eisel’s ground out.
Moore got himself into a jam in the second when after two walks to start the inning and a sacrifice, Otsego had runners on second and third with one out.
However, the sophomore lefty blew away the next two Knight hitters on strikes to escape the inning.
Back to back errors to begin the third put a pair of Knights on the corners, but Truckor threw out a runner at the plate on a ground ball and Moore got cleanup hitter John Brown on a pop up to left to get out of the inning scoreless.
Moore worked out of a two on two out jam in the fifth getting the same Brown on a ground out to end that threat.
After a one down walk in the seventh, Nagy brought in Hudik to face the top of the Knights order and the freshman picked up the save with a pop up and then Joe Brown on a called third to end the game.
“The young guys have to learn how to win,” said Nagy. “You hear that at all levels in all sports is learning how to win and finding a way to win. Today we had many times in that second game we could’ve caved in and we didn’t and the kids just kept battling. I’m very proud of the young guys, I’m very proud of the senior leaders, they all worked and earned today but we have a long way to go.”
Moore scattered three hits, walked three and struck out six in picking up the first Viking win. John Brown got the loss despite allowing just three hits, two walks while striking out seven.
Evergreen travels to Delta this afternoon before hosting Toledo Whitmer on Thursday.
Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]