Vikes Slip Past Bengals

In a bang-bang controversial call at home, Blythewood’s Aaron Dahm is called out at the plate. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

COLUMBIA – Blythewood pitcher Toby Robson had a no-hitter going with two outs in the bottom of the sixth Tuesday night at Spring Valley field. The right-hander lost it, however, when Vikings’ Eric Laughead slammed a double to the left-field corner, scoring David Hodge from second for the only run of the game.

After that, Spring Valley stopped a Bengal rally in the seventh to close out a 1-0 victory over their Region 4-4A rival.

“He pitched great,” Blythewood head coach Barry Mizzell said of Robson. “And their kid pitched great. He threw for strikes and whatever we hit, we hit it right to them, and we couldn’t get any breaks in the end, it was just one of those things.”

Robson gave up Laughead’s double, but struck out six. Besides driving in the winning run, Laughead was the winning pitcher. The right-hander threw a complete game and gave up three hits, recording one walk and no strikeouts for the Vikings (4-12 overall, 2-5 region).

“Erick Laughead has done that all year,” said Spring Valley head coach Collin Liggett. “He’s got an ERA of just under 1. It’s not like he’s been getting hit around, we just haven’t been putting offense behind him. He set the tone and played with a great deal of confidence and the other seven behind him got confident and made some plays.”

With the game scoreless going into the sixth, Blythewood (10-5, 4-2) had a chance to take a lead in its at-bat.

Laughead hit leadoff batter Barrett Grant, and designated hitter Jacob Davis tried a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. However, in the play that followed, Davis ran off the baseline and was declared out. Grant remained at first.

Grant did move to second on a pitch in the dirt to Tyler Romanik, but he held when Romanik grounded to third.

Andrew Crook did move Grant to third with a 2-out base hit to right, and Crook himself reached second when Spring Valley right fielder Matthew Ross threw home to keep Grant at third.

Connor Grant grounded to shortstop to retire the side.

That set up Laughead’s double that scored the winning run. Hodge was hit by a pitch, then took second on Jose James’ sacrifice bunt. When Laughead’s ball rolled into the corner in left field, Hodge rounded third and scored.

The Bengals mounted one last effort in the top of the seventh. Aaron Dahm drew a walk and Drew Ellis reached base on second baseman David Hodge’s fielding error.

With runners at first and second and nobody out, Walt Ballentine came to the plate. Dahm was able to steal third to put runners on the corners for Ballentine, but luck turned in favor of the Vikings.

Ballentine dragged a bunt that dribbled down the first base line, but Laughead fielded it and flipped it to catcher Andrew Hoberson. Hoberson tagged Dahm for the first out.

Ellis reached third on that play, and Ryan Mallone slammed a ball deep into short. Shortstop Tyler Baker fielded it and fired to James at third.

James tried to tag Ellis as he went for home but he dropped the ball. Once Ellis returned to third safely, James picked up the ball and threw back to Baker, who tagged Ballentine on the base path for the second out.

With Ellis at third and Mallone at first, Barrett Grant flied out to center field to seal the win for the Vikings.

Blythewood 000 000 0 – 0 3 0

Spring Valley 000 001 x – 1 1 1

B: Robson (L) and Crook. S: Laughead (W) and Hobensack. 2B: Laughead, S. LOB: B-5, S-2

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