OREM After an impressive comeback victory over American Fork in the 5A baseball playoffs on Monday, the Vikings couldn't have asked for a better opponent Tuesday afternoon than Layton.
In the two meetings between the Vikings and the Lancers this season, the Vikings scored a combined 33 runs, while allowing just three.
But for some reason, the Lancers just had a feeling things would be different the third time around.
That feeling turned out to be correct as the Lancers turned the tables, defeating the Vikings 9-7. The Lancers first four batters led the charge, going a combined 10-14 with four doubles, a triple and four RBIs. As a team, the Lancers finished the game with 11 hits, more than double what they had in the their two previous meetings with the Vikings.
"(The last) two games gave us motivation," said Lancers' starting pitcher Jaron Gold. "We got off the school bus and just knew it was our day."
Gold had his share of struggles Tuesday, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in five innings. He also walked four. But thanks to some clutch hitting, he was able to pick up the win anyway.
Vikings' starting pitcher Max Metina, who pitched five innings of three-hit baseball in an 11-2 victory over the Lancers on April 10, gave up nine runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"Every game is a new game," said Vikings' assistant coach JR Crook. "(The Lancers) came to play."
The Lancers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Haden Lomax led off with a single, but was thrown out trying to steal second. After a walk to Bo Jensen, Gavin Green sliced a double down the right field line to send Jensen to third. After another walk loaded the bases, Aaron Burgin was then hit on an 0-1 pitch to score Jensen. Brock Maestas then grounded out to third, scoring another run.
The Lancers continued finding success against Metina, adding three more in the third. In the top of the fifth, the Lancers capitalized on three Vikings' errors to score two more and take a 7-2 lead.
The Vikings cut the lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the fifth on a two-RBI triple by Garrett Bushman, but the Lancers struck right back in the top of the sixth on a two-RBI double by Jeremy Hayward to get the lead back to five.
The Vikings, who have had a lot of recent success scoring late in games, scored three more in the bottom of the sixth. But that was all they would get. Jensen ended up coming in on a 2-0 count in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on first and nobody out to collect the save.
"We expected to score late," Crook said. "We just didn't score enough."
The victory for the Lancers snapped an eight-game losing streak against to the Vikings. Before Tuesday, the Lancers hadn't defeated the Vikings since April 27, 2004. It was also just the Lancers' fourth victory over the Vikings since 2001.
We got the monkey off our back," said Lancers head coach BJ Lovell. "We battled our butts off."
Lovell admitted the final two innings had him nervous, but said he had all the confidence his team would pull it out.
Pitching has been a major concern for the Vikings since the playoffs started. During the regular season, the Vikings allowed an average of just 5.5 runs per game. But in their four playoff games, the Vikings allowed an average of 11.