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Vikings fend off Champs' rally, reach 7-AA championship

By CHRIS SIERS ~ sports@t-g.com
Posted 5/10/22

UNIONVILLE — A four-run fourth inning gave Cascade a brief lead on Monday afternoon at Community, but in the end, the Vikings were able to recapture the lead and hang on for the 6-4 win and …

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Vikings fend off Champs' rally, reach 7-AA championship

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UNIONVILLE — A four-run fourth inning gave Cascade a brief lead on Monday afternoon at Community, but in the end, the Vikings were able to recapture the lead and hang on for the 6-4 win and advance to the District 7-AA championship at Forrest.
Leading 3-0, Cascade took advantage of five walks in the top of the fourth inning.
Starting Cascade pitcher Jake Bates helped his own cause when he safely reached after putting the ball in play and reaching base via Community error, which also allowed two runs to score.
Senior Hunter Lemmons worked a full count and eventually drew a bases-loaded walk to plate a third Champion run of the inning.
Cascade went on to take the lead on a hustle play by Conner Melson, who struck out, but a dropped third strike allowed him to race to first base and courtesy base runner Xamarion Dixon stole home, giving Cascade a 4-3 lead.
The Champs’ lead didn’t hold long as Community went back to work and tied the game on a RBI triple by Dylan Norris and a sac-fly by Mason Russell, once again giving the Purple and Gold a 5-4 lead.
Working in relief, Gage Underwood sat the Champs down in order in the top of the fifth inning and in the bottom of the fifth, Community padded its lead following a Cascade miscue in the infield.
Senior Sam Holley singled to right with one out and eventually scampered around the bases and on a steal attempt to third base, an errant Cascade throw allowed Holley to score.
Underwood allowed just one Cascade base runner over the final three innings pitched — a two-out single by Champion catcher Noah McGeary in the top of the sixth.
Community grabbed the early lead, driving in two in the bottom of the first when Corey Paterick stole home on a passed ball and another when Russell connected on an infield base hit and legged out the throw to first.
A third Community run crossed the plate when Holley laid down a perfect bunt single, scoring another.
Viking starter Dylan Norris got the start on the mound and struck out the side in the top of the first inning.
Cascade threatened in the top of the second with a one-out double by Kobe Inmon and a single to left by Chance Brown.
Norris responded and struck out the final two batters to end the Champion threat in the second.
Cascade again threatened in the third when McGeary safely reached on a Viking error, but a hard-hit shot by Lemmons was snagged Underwood, who was playing first, and followed by stepping on the first-base bag to double up the Champs.
Maki Fleming and Holley were the only Vikings who connected on multiple hits against Cascade on Monday, while Norris’ triple was the only extra base hit for the Purple and Gold.
Mason Russell was the top run producer, driving in a pair of runs.
For Cascade, the Champs managed just three hits, singles by Chance Brown and McGeary and a double by Inmon.
Norris pitched the first four innings and the hard-throwing lefty struck out 10 Cascade batters, but gave up five walks. Cascade scored four off him, although none of which were earned.
Underwood pitched the final three innings for the Vikings and gave up just one hit and struck out four.
For the Champs, Bates got the start and pitched three innings, allowing three runs on six hits, only one of which was earned.
He struck out five and gave up two walks before Craig took over and pitched the final three innings.
He struck out four and gave up three runs on three hits.
Community advances to the district finals, which will begin with Game 1 at 5 p.m.
Should Community force a second game, first pitch is slated for approximately 7 p.m.
In four meetings so far this year, the Rockets have owned the series against Community, claiming all four victories over the Vikings.
In their last meeting on Saturday, the Rockets edged out a 3-2 win over Community.

Cascade 000 400 0 — 4 3 4
Community 201 210 x — 6 9 2

Cascade: Kobe Inmon 1-for-2, Chance Brown 1-for-3, Noah McGeary 1-for-2.
2B: K. Inmon
Community: Maki Fleming 2-for-3, Corey Paterick 1-for-3, Dylan Norris 1-for-4, Mason Russell 1-for-4, Gage Underwood 1-for-2, Blaine Paschal 1-for-3, Sam Holley 2-for-3.
3B: Norris.

WP: Norris
LP: Walker
S: Underwood

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