The plays that weren’t made were the key as Evergreen dropped a 4-2 decision to perennial Division I power Toledo Whitmer Wednesday which put them at 1-3 on the season.
With the teams scoreless in the third, the Panthers took advantage of a muffed pop-up in short left field, then a critical two-out dropped fly ball in center field to go ahead 2-0.
Then, in the fifth, consecutive short fly balls into right field fell for hits off Teagen Pinkelman before a sharp single by Whitmer pitcher Mike Burnett loaded the bases where a fielder’s choice and sacrifice fly marked two more insurance runs to make it 4-0.
Meanwhile, Burnett held the Vikings hitless into the seventh despite walking five Vikings.
Evergreen made it interesting in the seventh when Drew Greene and Nick Hudik each were hit by a pitch with two out.
Then, Nick Etue got the Vikings only hit of the day when his fly ball went over the head of the drawn in Panther left fielder for a two-run double to slice the lead in half at 4-2 and bring the tying run to the plate before Burnett recorded the last out.
Etue went the first four innings and took the loss despite not giving up an earned run and allowing two hits, while walking three and striking out one.
Pinkelman gave up two earned on two hits in the final three innings.
The Vikes now host Liberty Center in an NWOAL contest Thursday before hosting Pettisville in a doubleheader Saturday.
Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]