Crocus’ Kyle Johnston sprays up a cloud of dirt as he dives back to first base. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)
Clark Whelpton was happy to take the ice-bucket shower from his teammates with good humour as long as he got to celebrate the win to go with it.
Whelpton earned every last cube, leading the way on the mound and at the plate, as the Vincent Massey Vikings repeated as city high school baseball champions with a 14-0 victory over the Crocus Plainsmen at Andrews Field on Wednesday night.
Whelpton pitched all seven innings, scattering four hits and a walk, with one strikeout. He also singled twice, driving in three runs, but was happy to share the credit with his teammates.
"The boys really played hard," he said. "Everybody chipped in any way they could and it was a really good team win."
Leading the best-of-three final 1-0 after a 14-5 victory on Tuesday, the Vikings put the clinching game out of reach early, scoring five runs in the first inning, three in the second and two more in the third.
"(The Vikings) are a strong team, so we have to play pretty good to beat ’em and we got some errors early," Plainsmen coach Ryan Boguski said. "We had three Grade 9 kids start in the infield for us, so it was a really young squad out there and I think (momentum) just started to snowball in the wrong direction for us."
Landon Cross and Ty Webber added two hits apiece for Vincent Massey, with Cross scoring three runs and driving in three, while Webber doubled, drove in three runs, scored twice and stole a base. Tanner Jago added a single and two walks and scored four runs for the Vikings, who are now the Zone 15 champions and will face either the Hamiota Huskies or Russell’s Major Pratt Trojans next week in an interzone playoff for a spot in provincials, June 1-2 in Stonewall.
"Goal 1 is obviously the city championship," Vikings coach Faron Asham said. "We’ve taken that first step. Goal 2 is getting into the provincial championship. We’re going to try and make that happen next week."
Kyle Johnston went 3-for-3 with a double to lead the Plainsmen. Starting pitcher Shayne MacGranachan lasted three innings and took the loss, giving up five hits and two walks, with three strikeouts.
Once the Vikings built up a big lead, they relied on Whelpton to throw strikes and backed him up with steady defence.
"(Whelpton) was feeding the (strike) zone and in order to do that, you need a good defence behind him," Asham said. "We made the routine plays and those are the ones that count. So we didn’t beat ourselves, we didn’t give away any outs and we cashed in when we had the chance."
Boguski said his team had the bad luck to come up with one of its worst games of the season, but believes the youngsters learned a lot from the series against the Vikings and the season as a whole.
"For me as a coach, I just look to see the kids improve throughout the year and as coaches we have seen them improve from Game 1 up until today," said Boguski, whose team still has a Prairie West league playoff game to play. "Things kinda went backward a bit, but that happens in baseball. You have a bad game, but I don’t think that really says much about how the season went and how the kids improved."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2012