On a cold, raw day, at times Evergreen didn’t look the finest.
However, what the Vikings did do well was make the most of opportunity early, then get big hits with men on base later to cruise to a 14-2 season opening five-inning win over Delta Tuesday at the Panthers’ Jim Harmon Field.
“Early on I wasn’t real happy that we were taking called third strikes,” expressed Viking coach Mark Cymbolin. “Later on though we got big hits with guys on base and we’ve (been) preaching to go middle oppo and good things happened when we had that approach.”
Brock Hudik got the Vikes started in the top of the first when he reached on an error, stole second and third, riding home on a bad throw to third to put Evergreen up 1-0.
Hunter Vaculik walked leading off the second, moved up on a wide throw on a pickle play, then scored on freshman Layne Vance’s single to double the lead.
Hudik’s base hit with two down scored Vance, then Landen Vance rammed a double into the right center gap to make it 4-0 off Panther starter Brody Waugh.
Delta got a run in the second off Hudik on a pair of walks, Waugh’s opposite field single and a hit batter.
The Panthers got within 4-2 an inning later when Landon Greisinger rapped a run-scoring single to left center.
The Vikings blew the game wide open, putting an eight spot up in the fourth against Brady Morr.
Hudik singled and stole second with one down to start the scoring salvo.
After a walk and wild pitch scored one run, RJ Shunck followed with a run-scoring base hit to make it 6-2.
Three more base on balls forced in another Viking run, then Austin Marvin’s base hit to center bumped the score to 8-2.
Layne Vance’s fly ball marked another run and following yet another walk, Hudik cleared the bases with a rocket over the right fielder’s head for a bases loaded three-bagger.
“Brock did exactly what we need him to do at the plate, using the whole field and getting on base,” said Cymbolin of his leadoff hitter. “Then we got out of our bottom part what we didn’t get all the time last year with Marv getting a couple hits and Layne having two more.”
The younger Vance also threw out a Panther runner trying to steal.
Isaac Overfield and Marvin added run-producing singles in the fifth for the final Evergreen tallies.
Hudik’s three hits and four RBIs paced the Viking offense.
Hudik picked up the win on the mound. Nick Smithmyer threw two shutout innings to finish it out.
Evergreen, weather permitting, plays at Otsego and hosts Eastwood Thursday and Friday before traveling to highly-touted Sylvania Northview Monday.