Janesville77.2°
|

Van Zandt, Vikings deliver in Big Eight statement game

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print
Eric Schmoldt
April 16, 2014

Hunter Van Zandt and the Janesville Parker Vikings wasted no time making a statement Wednesday.

Van Zandt struck out the side in the top of the first inning, and his teammates staked him to a nine-run lead through two frames against Middleton.

The left-hander finished with nine punchouts, and the Vikings cruised to a 13-0 Big Eight Conference victory that took just five innings at Riverside Park.

“I feel like we're playing well as a team right now,” Van Zandt said. “We're hitting the ball, playing good defense, and our pitching is there.

“We feel like we can do something special this season. We've got a great group of guys.”

After a leadoff out to start the bottom of the first inning, Zach Bailey, Logan Coulter and Will Theisen rattled consecutive singles through the right side to put the Vikings (4-1, 3-0 Big Eight) on the scoreboard. Then, with two outs, Brennan Olin smacked a two-run double to stake Van Zandt to a 3-0 lead.

The Vikings batted around, and then some, to chase Middleton (3-1, 2-1) starter Garrett Knudtson in the second. They scored six runs on four hits, and the Cardinals suffered from a pair of errors.

“We've been swinging the bats pretty well, and that was obviously huge,” Parker coach Brian Martin said. “It was a confidence boost for us to get three runs in the first and then to just keep it going. We couldn't have asked for a better start.”

In the field, Van Zandt went to work against the Cardinals hitters by delivering a healthy dose of first-pitch strikes.

The lefty gave up back-to-back singles with two outs in the third inning, but that was as big of a jam as he saw on a blustery evening.

“He's been lights-out,” Martin said. “That's a pretty good baseball team (Middleton) that we just played right there. By the time it's all said and done, they're going to have a lot of Ws. For us to come out and play that way, it's a great testament to where our guys are at right now.”

Parker right fielder Conner Osmond capped the day off with a three-run triple in the bottom of the fourth. His brother, Cullen, went 2-for-3 with a run and three driven in, Bailey finished 2-for-2 with a run-plating double and two runs, and first baseman Mitch Benway was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs.

Parker returns to the field Saturday at Madison East.



Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print