All it took was one swing of the bat, and Parkview’s senior day was a lot sweeter.
Max Koeppe’s three-run, sixth-inning blast over the left-field fence lifted the Vikings to a come-from-behind 4-2 win against Waynesville on Tuesday evening.
“I was looking for a fastball,” said Koeppe, whose hit was just the second of the game for Parkview. “He threw two breaking balls and got the count to 2-0. I thought if he threw a fastball in a good spot, I’d go for it. I tried to stay relaxed, swung, and it went.”
Prior to the sixth inning, Waynesville’s Trey Simpson had retired seven straight and 14 of 17 he had faced. Then, the Vikings rallied.
“(Simpson) did a nice job with his pace,” Parkview coach John Thompson said. “He varied his delivery times and caught us off balance. He was in control. A big key for us turning that around was taking some of that time back and making sure we were in control of our at-bats.”
Simpson went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Tigers, and Noah Ochoa finished 2-for-3. Five different Parkview players had one hit apiece for the Vikings.
Dylan Cave worked a leadoff walk in the sixth. Two batter later, Merrick Altis walked. The Vikings had two on and two out when Koeppe went yard. Later in the frame, Riley Rathburn lined a single to left, giving Parkview an insurance run.
Parkview’s sixth inning outburst turned its starting pitcher from a tough-luck loser into a well-deserved winner. Senior Malachi Gentry allowed just one earned run in the complete game win.
“He’s pitched like that the last four or five outings and we’ve come up a run short three straight times for him,” Thompson said. “I’m so happy for him that he got to secure the W.”
Gentry pitched to contact all evening, walking none and striking out three.
“I tried to put the ball in the zone and let the guys hit it and my defense work behind me,” Gentry said. “It worked out to my advantage.”
Waynesville took a first-inning lead on Tuesday as leadoff hitter Landon Jennings singled, stole second, went to third on a throwing error, and came home on an RBI groundout. They added a second run in the fourth inning when Ochoa—after singling earlier in the frame—stole third and came home on a throwing error.
But Parkview kept the game close. In the sixth inning, they flipped the switch and created a memorable senior day finish.
“Our seniors deserve a great night like this,” Thompson said. “I hope they remember it for a while.”
Waynesville 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 7 0
Parkview 0 0 0 0 0 4 X 4 5 2
Waynesville: Trey Simpson 2, Noah Ochoa 2, Ethan Brown, Ryan Pendleton, Landon Jennings
Parkview: Nicholas Cole (2B), Max Koeppe (HR), Trey Lee, Nick Young, Riley Rathbun