Isaac Wengert and Noah Gingrich led the Vikings with two RBIs apiece, while Wengert also picked up the win
Northern Lebanon seniors Isaac Wengert and Noah Gingrich say the feel in their dugout is much the same from a year ago, when the two played pivotal roles during a 13-win season.
Seven innings into their 2016 campaign, it's safe to say the Vikings look awfully familiar on the field, too.
Behind Wengert's strong mound performance, Northern Lebanon rolled to a 7-4 season-opening win Tuesday at Cedar Crest. Gingrich and Wengert both finished with two RBIs, having knocked in runs during a game-breaking fourth inning that birthed a six-run lead. The Falcons (0-3) went on to load the bases in the home half of the same frame, but only scored two and never seriously threatened again.
“We were just excited to get out and play some baseball," Gingrich said. "We're ready to get going now, and it’s great to get out to a good start.”
On the hill, the Vikings ace went six innings and allowed three runs, including two of the unearned variety. Down a run in the early going, Gingrich's first RBI put the Vikings ahead 2-1 heading into the bottom of second, which led to a pair of quiet frames sandwiching the front and back ends of the action-packed fourth. In fact, seven of the last eight Cedar Crest hitters Wengert faced were not only retired, but also failed to even leave the infield.
“I was getting more comfortable and the wind died down, which helped," Wengert said of his final frames. "I just got locked in, and my team needed me.”
Due to his rising pitch count, Falcons starter Nate Cavic was lifted early in the fourth inning of his mount debut for senior Brett Bawiec. Despite a sharp contrast in styles, Cavic a hard-throwing righty and Bawiec a craftier southpaw, Northern Lebanon pounded away with five on their next six hitters reaching base. Ten Viking at-bats were recorded in the inning alone, when RBI singles from Seth Walmer and Michigan Daub put the icing on a then 7-1 cake.
“We had one bad inning," Cedar Crest coach Josh Brown said. "It could’ve been a 4-2 game, but hey, that’s history.
“We didn’t hit the ball that great tonight. And sometimes that happens. It ‘s also probably gonna happen when you face a No. 1 like that.”