It became clear that last night was going to be a pitcher’s duel as starting pitcher Ethan Christianson retired the Coeur D’Alene Vikings in order to start the game. The Vikings pitcher proceeded to strike-out the Rocky side and everyone in attendance knew hits and runs would be few and far between. Another 1-2-3 inning for Ethan and the Grizzlies and a chink in the armor appeared in the Viking pitcher as designated hitter Kase Ogata and first baseman Nolan Walker each drew walks to start the home team half of the second inning. With two outs, right fielder Payton Lewis was able to put the ball between the wickets of the second baseman and bring Ogata in for the first run of the ball game and the inning ended with Rocky on top 1-0.
A lead-off single by the Vikings was followed by a sacrifice bunt to put Coeur D’Alene in scoring position but a strike-out and ground out prevented any runs from scoring. Center fielder Ryan Hansen laid down a nice bunt and the throw went out of the first baseman’s glove to give Rocky a base runner with one out in the bottom of the third. Hansen wasted no time in stealing second on the very next pitch and left fielder Nick Romano was walked. A double by catcher Kaden Hollow scored Hansen while Romano was stuck between third and home before a wayward throw scored him as well. With a 3-0 lead, the Grizzlies were able to breath a little easier and let Christianson work his magic on the mound.
With the exception of a hit batter, Christianson struck out the side to keep the zeroes on the scoreboard for the Vikings in the top of the 4th inning. A bunt single by Lewis and a stolen base was the only action for Rocky in the bottom frame and the game continued into the 5th inning with the score still 3-0 in Rocky’s favor. The Grizzly defense kept chugging along with another 1-2-3 inning, but a single by Hollow didn’t lead to any runs and still the game remained 3-0 Rocky.
The top of the 6th inning saw a lead-off walk followed by a single to get the Viking fans excited. A diving catch by Walker on a grounder prevented a run but the runners advanced to second and third as he threw to Christianson covering first for the first out. A single gave Coeur D’Alene their first run of the ballgame and runners on the corners, still with one out. A strike-out and a fly ball to right ended the inning with Rocky maintaining their lead, 3-1. A 1-2-3 at-bat for Rocky brought the game to the top of the 7th and the Vikings’ last chance to tie the game.
A one out walk brought emotions to a fever pitch for Coeur D’Alene, but it was quickly extinguished with yet another strike-out and a fly ball to left field to end the game. At the plate, Kaden Hollow was 2-3 (double, rbi) and Payton Lewis was 1-2. Ethan Christianson pitched all 7 innings, allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits, 2 walks and 9 strike-outs. Rocky plays the Bonneville Bees tomorrow night back at Borah with a 6:00 game time.