Viking baseball season comes to abrupt end

Huntington North shortstop Zach Daugherty unleashes a throw to first base after fielding a grounder in the Vikings' game against Fort Wayne South Side in the Huntington North Sectional at Forest Glen Park on Saturday, May 26.
Huntington North shortstop Zach Daugherty unleashes a throw to first base after fielding a grounder in the Vikings' game against Fort Wayne South Side in the Huntington North Sectional at Forest Glen Park on Saturday, May 26. Photo by Steve Clark.

The season came to an abrupt end for the Huntington North High School baseball team with a 4-2 loss to Fort Wayne South Side in the semifinals of the Huntington North Sectional on Saturday, May 26, at Forest Glen Park.

After a campaign in which they were ranked as high as No. 1 in Class 4A, the Vikings’ season came undone at the plate, where the Archers’ starting pitcher, Thomas Romero, limited them to just a pair of hits in 6.2 innings.

Romero, a senior, also yielded both of Huntington North’s runs while walking two and striking out four to earn the win for South Side, 12-12.

The No. 12 Vikings, 24-5, scored in the top of the first when senior Elliott Lesperance smacked a sacrifice fly that plated senior Collin Landrum, who reached base on a double and advanced to third after a fly out by senior Ian McCutcheon.

The Archers countered with a solo tally of their own in the bottom of the first, then took the lead with another run in the second. Huntington North saw to it that that advantage was short-lived, though, scoring in the third to knot the game back up at 2-2.

Senior Logan Moreland kicked off the inning for the Vikings with a bunt, reaching first. After another bunt, this one by Collin Landrum, Romero made a wild throw that enabled Moreland to advance to third and Landrum to second. McCutcheon then smacked a sacrifice fly, bringing Moreland home.

Unfortunately for Huntington North, that would prove to be the extent of their offensive production. South Side retook the lead with a score in the fourth, then cushioned its advantage in the fifth when senior Josh Smith thumped a solo home run.

The Vikings would give the Archers a scare in the seventh, loading the bases with two outs, but got stymied by relief pitcher Lee Barrera, who recorded the final out to end Huntington North’s bid for back-to-back sectional titles.

Lesperance took the loss for the Vikings, permitting six hits and the Archers’ four runs, two of which were earned, in 4.1 innings. The senior, 8-1, also walked two and fanned one. Junior Zach Daugherty tossed the final 1.2 frames for Huntington North, yielding just a hit while walking one and striking out two.

With the victory, South Side advances to play Homestead, 18-8, in the Huntington North Sectional championship game on Monday, May 28, at 6 p.m. The Spartans earned their spot in the title tilt with a 13-3 rout of North Side earlier on Saturday.