Vikings tame Tigers to secure outright MSL-Buckeye crown

By Brad Morris

When Circleville elected to start a different pitcher on Thursday than it did last month against Teays Valley, Morgan Cantrell knew it would be important for the top of the lineup to work the count.

“We thought Gabby McConnell would pitch for Circleville, but once we saw (Audrey Cowdery) come out then Michelle Brumfield and I knew that we would have to work our counts and let our team know what she was throwing,” she said.

The Vikings scored two runs in their first at-bat and didn’t look back in a 7-1 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win over the host Circleville Tigers.

Teays Valley (21-3, 12-0) secured its second consecutive outright league championship and extended its winning streak inside league play to 28 games.

“We hadn’t played in a week until last night against Liberty Union due to the weather, so I think we were all a little on edge coming into the game, especially with it being Circleville,” Cantrell said. “Now that we clinched the outright MSL title, I think it will set us up pretty good moving forward to finish league play and then go into the tournament.”

Brumfield was hit by a pitch to open the game and then Cantrell singled to center. Brumfield went from first-to-third on the play, with Cantrell taking second on the throw to third base.

Micah Mann and Reagan Mengerink followed with back-to-back sacrifice fly balls to drive in both runners.

Teays Valley’s Micah Mann singles during the third inning.

During the second half of league play, the Vikings have often seen different pitchers as teams try to throw off their timing at the plate. Coach Derrick Hastler was pleased to see how fast the Vikings adjusted on Thursday against the Tigers.

“We’ve been working on making quicker adjustments when we see a different pitcher and figure out early what that pitcher is throwing and then looking for our pitch to attack,” Hastler said. “We did a nice job tonight of identifying the pitches that (Cowdery) was throwing, the speed she was throwing at and putting together quality at-bats.”

The Vikings scored four more times in the third to expand their lead to 6-0.

Cantrell singled to center with one out, stole second and scored following back-to-back singles to center courtesy of Mann and Mengerink.

Teays Valley’s Morgan Cantrell steals second base in the third inning.

Following a double steal, Isabel Sayre grounded out to short and drove in Mann.

After Aimee DeWeese legged out an infield single to short and stole second, Alyvia Lawrentz singled to right to chase home both Mengerink and DeWeese.

The Vikings were without shortstop and normal five-hole hitter Alyssa Brown due to an injury she suffered on the final play of Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Liberty Union. Cantrell noted the Vikings felt it was imperative to take charge early due to missing Brown’s bat.

“We all knew with Alyssa out that we had to come out strong to fill the gap of not having her bat in the lineup,” she said. “Once we came out and established a lead then we knew we were good.”

The Vikings scored their final run in the sixth when Sydney Manring doubled off the right center field fence to score Lawrentz.

Circleville (15-6, 8-4) reached the scoreboard in its half of the inning when Cara Cooper reached on an error and eventually scored on an error by the shortstop when McConnell stole second.

Manring started the game for the Vikings and allowed one hit, walked four and struck out seven over three innings to earn the win. Sayre allowed two hits and struck out a batter in two innings, and Lawrentz allowed a hit, an unearned run, walked a batter and struck out three in the final two frames.

“We wanted to get Sydney work on back-to-back days, and I felt like, for the most part, she did a nice job of attacking the hitters and her rise ball had some nice life to it,” Hastler said. “It was also nice to get Isabel and Alyvia in and get them some work after not pitching for a while due to the layoff we had with the weather.”

Teays Valley’s Aimee DeWeese makes a throw to second to start a 4-6-3 double play in the fifth.

Cantrell went 2-for-4 and scored twice and Manring was 2-for-3 with an RBI to pace the Vikings. Chandler Hayes had two of Circleville’s four hits.

Both Pickaway County rivals hit the road on Friday to continue league play, as the Vikings take on Liberty Union for the second time in three days and the Tigers tangle with Hamilton Township.

Teays Valley 7, Circleville 1
Teays Valley 204 001 0 — 7 9 2
Circleville 000 001 0 —1 4 1
Manring, Sayre (4), Lawrentz (6) and Mengerink; Cowdery, McConnell (3) and Hayes

Circleville’s Gracie Riddick makes a throw.
Circleville’s Alyssa Liston heads for third.
Pickaway County Family YMCA
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