Vikings bounce back from weekend stumble
JANESVILLE--Catcher Will Theisen had a feeling he and his Janesville Parker baseball team would bounce back quickly.
Three days after suffering a pair of losses, including their first in Big Eight Conference play, the Vikings showed resiliency.
Theisen's first-inning double put Parker on the scoreboard, sophomore Hunter Van Zandt threw a complete-game five-hitter, and the Vikings rebounded with a 6-0 league win over Beloit Memorial at Riverside Park on Tuesday.
“We need this; it was a big deal to get a win and get momentum going into this next week,” Theisen said. “With this team, almost immediately after the (losses Saturday) I knew that we were just going to say, 'Hey, this happens, it's baseball,' and we were going to come back.”
Parker moved to 11-1 to remain tied with Sun Prairie atop the league standings. The Vikings and Cardinals meet for the first time this season Friday at Sun Prairie.
Parker coach Brian Martin was anxious to see how his team would battle back from adversity. Van Zandt pitched his way out of a two-on, one-out jam in the first, and the Vikings followed with a two-out, two-run rally that bolstered by Theisen's double. He finished 2-for-3 with a pair of runs.
“We talked about it yesterday and before the game today, just getting back to playing the way we know how,” Martin said. “We did that today, and that's huge. It's a very encouraging sign.”
Parker made it 3-0 when third baseman Brock Welch singled in the second and scored on Cullen Osmond's single. First baseman Mitch Benway led off with a single and scored on Welch's base hit in the fourth inning.
Beloit, playing without some of its top players—including No. 1 starter Armann Cabrera and Patrick Whalen—had its chances. The Purple Knights put a runner on base with one out or less in four of the first five innings, but they stranded eight.
“(Van Zandt) made pitches when he needed to, and our defense bailed him out when they needed to,” Martin said. “He hadn't thrown in almost 12 days, so he was a little rusty. But when we needed a ground ball, he got one.”
Beloit had the bases loaded with one out in the third inning, but Van Zandt induced a grounder up the middle. Second baseman Dominick Gruenwald grabbed it, stepped on second base and fired to first for the double play.
Van Zandt eventually found a groove and retired the last eight hitters he faced. He allowed five hits and a walk and struck out six.
The Vikings are scheduled to host Madison East, winless in the Big Eight, at 5 p.m. today before Friday's pivotal game at Sun Prairie.