The NAIA Unaffiliated Baseball Tournament started Wednesday, and the first game was a barnburner. The Valley City State University Vikings took on the Dakota State Trojans. The Trojans came into the tournament seeded #5, and Vikings #4.
The morning game began quietly. A strong wind came in from right field, but had little affect on hitters later in the game. The Trojans scored once in the second inning, and again in the fourth. The Vikings put a run on the board in the bottom of the fourth, and then in the fifth, all heck broke loose with the bats.
With two outs, the Trojans teed-off agains Derek Zitzow. A shot down the third baseline started the Trojan run, and it was finished with a double off the 356-foot mark in center, giving the Trojans a 5-1 lead.
Mike Gershman got a leadoff single for the Vikings to begin their half of the fifth. Preston Jensen shot a line drive into left, and then Trojan pitcher Kevin Madera walked the bases loaded.
Joey Duttenhefer got a one-out RBI, followed Brenden Shearer with an RBI, keeping the bases loaded and still with one out. Joey Demers dribbled a grounder through the hole at second for an RBI. Thomas Houdek got an RBI on a sacrifice fly to right. And then Brady Anderson cleared the bases with a three-run shot over the right field wall. Gershman came to the plate again and was walked with two out, allowing Jensen an RBI triple to finish off the scoring. The Vikings jumped to a 9-5 lead.
Only to watch it diminish in the top of the sixth when Trojan bats and a couple of Vikings errors allowed three runs.
Scott Stephenson tried to get something started for the Vikings in their half of the sixth, but was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
The Trojans added four more in the seventh, and another in the eighth before the Vikings answered with four in the bottom of the eighth, tying the game at 13-13
The teams racked up three more innings of play before Trojan Danny Flahie sent a solo shot over the fence in the top of the 12th.
Dakota State had 14 runs on an incredible 21 hits. The Vikings totaled 13 runs on an equally incredible 17 hits. The Vikings committed six errors, the Trojans's one.
Anderson was the big bat for the Vikings going 2-5, with three RBIs. Shearer went 3-7 and two RBIs.
The Vikings take on Dickinson State, today, Wednesday, at 11 a.m., in this double-elimination tournament.