LAFARGEVILLE — Four innings came and went before either Thousand Islands or Beaver River managed to push a run across in Tuesday’s Frontier League “C” Division baseball game.
The Vikings came through late, scoring one run in the fifth and then two in the sixth, ultimately winning 3-1, but mostly the game centered around the pitching.
With Tuesday being the first of five straight games for the Vikings, coach Zach Meier needs to be strategic with his pitchers, especially when it comes to the pitch limit. Having Wyatt Parliament go all seven innings today helped out a great deal.
“With the pitch count being in play it makes it that much more important that our guys are efficient,” Meier said. “Luckily Wyatt is just that. Rarely does he get in the habit of walking guys.”
The freshman righty kept the game moving, almost always getting ahead on batters. He was able to produce out early in the count.
“Getting ahead in the count helps me set up for my secondary pitches,” Parliament said. “Getting ahead also sets up for weak hits in the infield so I can get easy plays and easy outs.”
He ended up finishing with seven strikeouts and allowing just four hits, two walks and one run. While Parliament’s arsenal consists of five pitches, all of which he commands well, he’s not purely a strikeout pitcher. Against the Beavers he forced nine ground ball outs, which combined with his seven strikeouts made up 16 of the 21 outs he got in the game.
“Strikeouts don’t matter, as long as I produce outs, I’m fine,” Parliament said. “My approach is to attack hitters and throw as many strikes as I can, don’t get down in the count and allow walks.”
Beaver River’s Wyatt Mullin matched Parliament, allowing no runs on one hit while recording five strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.
The Vikings didn’t fare much better than the Beavers (6-5, 4-3) at the plate, their three runs came in unconventional ways.
An inning after Micah Ingerson scored the tying run on a fielder’s choice, Trent Barnes scored the go-ahead run when the ball skipped away from the third baseman as Barnes made his way to the bag on a fly out. He was able to score without a throw. A few batters later, Tyler Smith scored the third and final run on a balk by pitcher Marcus Hills.
The Vikings displayed strong instincts in the field and on the base paths, two things that proved crucial in the game.
“Our baseball IQ is really high, I’d say we have one of the smartest groups around,” Ingerson said. “We really know what we’re doing on the base paths and in the field, where to go with the plays. Stuff like that.”
Defense played a major role. The Vikings (7-1, 6-1) avoided making any errors that would have given the Beavers additional baserunners.
“We always tell the kids, few of our guys are strikeout pitchers so we always tell them pitch to contact,” Meier said. “I think we’ve got one of the best defenses in the league so let them work.”