Springfield, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The Parkview Vikings welcomed their cross-town rival, the Kickapoo Chiefs, Wednesday night in a conference clash. The Vikings grabbed an early 2-0 lead and held on to win by that same score. Both teams are members of the Ozark Conference and are also in the same district as well.
“This was a big game coming in for us with district seeding implications being huge,” said Parkview coach John Thompson. “Both teams were vying for one of those upper spots and our key was getting a lead early.”
Parkview did just that. The Vikings grabbed a lead after Hunter Steinmetz led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a single and stole 2nd on the next pitch. Tyler Nemmers then hit a routine ground ball to the 2nd baseman that went between his legs and allowed Steinmetz, who wasn’t going on contact, to move over to 3rd base. However, as the centerfielder came up to back up the ground ball, the ball snuck away from him as well allowing Steinmetz to score. Nemmers would eventually score on a wild pitch later in the inning.
“Kickapoo plays the game right and usually won’t make mistakes,” said Thompson. “They will put the ball in play and make the plays while in the field so it was good for us, lucky, but good for us to grab that early lead.”
Parkview went with their ace, Mitch Carriger, to slow down the Kickapoo offense. He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, struck out one, walked one and hit a batter.
“I just tried to work fast and throw strikes as I like to work ahead of hitters,” said Carriger. “I strive to just work ahead and hit my spots.”
Thompson lifted Carriger from the game for closer Landan Ruff. He finished the final 2 1/3 innings for the save. Ruff didn’t surrender a hit while collecting four strike outs and hit one batter.
“We were hoping that with Mitch, who doesn’t throw that hard, to bring in Landan, who does throw hard, that the move would just further more throw them off balance,” said Thompson. “Seeing slower pitching all day and then you bring in a guy like Landan who can bring it, it had to mess with their timing a bit.”
Kickapoo went with Jake Smith on the bump. He pitched a complete game, giving up only three hits, struck out four, walked one, and hit a batter while giving up two runs and both being unearned.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Chiefs. Kickapoo falls to 15-10 on the season, 5-2 in conference. The Chiefs will travel to Waynesville Thursday for another conference matchup.
Parkview climbs their overall and conference record to .500 with the win. The Vikings improve to 9-9 on the season and 3-3 in Ozark Conference play. They host Rolla Thursday for senior night.