LIBERTY CENTER — Evergreen got their best pitching performance of the season from junior RJ Shunck, and Nick Smithmyer added two innings of scoreless relief as the Vikings shut out Liberty Center Monday, 3-0, in Northwest Ohio Athletic League baseball.
The win pushed the Vikings to 8-4 overall with their third straight league win.
“RJ threw the ball really well today,” Viking coach Mark Cymbolin said of his junior lefty. “He keeps getting better command every time out which is really important to us. When he is throwing strikes he can be the way he was today, striking out a lot of batters.”
Liberty Center got their best scoring opportunity in the first when an error, a passed ball on a Shunck strikeout, and a hit batter loaded the sacks with one down.
However, Shunck struck out Colton Kruse and got Cam Krugh on a bounce out to end the threat.
“They loaded them up without a hit and for us to get out of that was good on our part,” explained Cymbolin. “Got a big strikeout then made a play to get out of it. I think we are getting better defensively in spite of the first inning. Our goal is to play clean baseball every day, I know we didn’t do that right away but the rest of the way we were pretty good.”
The Vikings marked the only run they would need in the ensuing at bat.
Landen Vance lined a single to left, then Shunck’s grounder to first was misplayed for an error to put runners on first and third where a force play brought home Vance.
The Tigers’ Landon Amstutz made a waste of Zach Laver’s two-out double in the third by striking out Ashton Sayers, but two innings later the Viking first baseman got a second chance he made good on.
Brock Hudik singled and stole second with one down in the fifth, and Laver followed with a base hit to push Hudik to third.
After Laver stole second, Sayers delivered a line drive up the middle to score both runners and boost the Viking lead to 3-0.
Shunck got out of a second and third one out situation in the fifth by fanning Kruse and Krugh before Smithmyer took the mound in the next inning.
After a pair of two-out walks, the junior righty got Gavin Gerken looking to end that rally.
Shunck gave up just two hits, walked four and put down 11 Tigers on strikes to earn the win.
Evergreen travels to Wauseon (7-4, 3-0 NWOAL) for a big league contest Thursday.