By Mike Zummo
The Valley Central baseball team trailed most of the game, but the Vikings rode a five-run sixth inning to a 10-9 win over the Newburgh Free Academy Goldbacks on Wednesday in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Vikings entered the fifth inning trailing by three runs when Logan Voltaire hit Jason Murphy with a pitch with one out. After a Justin Freeman single, Voltaire struck out John Scotto for the second out, but Will Quinn doubled home Murphy to start the rally.
That was all for Voltaire, who pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief and was tagged for five earned runs with four strike outs. He gave way to Chase Rounds, who walked the next two batters to pull the Vikings to within a run.
Andre Rick tied the game with an infield single, and then Mason McDonald delivered a two-run single to give the Vikings a 10-8 lead.
That was enough for Murphy, who allowed a single run in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Newburgh’s J.J. McCoy. However, Murphy got Tyler Martin to foul out to Danny Bello at first base to end the game.
The teams traded runs in the first inning with the Goldbacks getting their first run on Nick Schmidt’s sacrifice fly and the Vikings tying the game in the bottom of the inning when William Quinn got hung up between first and second. He stayed in the rundown long enough for Murphy to come home before William Quinn was tagged out trying to retreat to second base.
The Goldbacks took the lead back in the second inning when Mason Hoover scored on a wild pitch, but the Vikings drew even again in the bottom of the third on Quinn’s single to right field.
But the Goldbacks scored two more runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth to take an 8-3 lead. The fourth inning runs came on an error by Valley Central catcher Justin Freeman.
Bello homered in the bottom of the fourth to pull the Vikings to within a run, but Newburgh’s D.J. Clifford doubled home two, Christopher Leggett scored on a wild pitch and Joe Ponesse doubled home a run to give the Goldbacks an 8-3 lead.
Bello doubled in two runs in the fifth to pull the Vikings to within three runs.
It was the end of a three-day stretch in which the Vikings posted a 2-1 record. They opened the week on May 15 with a 4-2 win over the Washingtonville Wizards before they suffered an 11-1 loss to the Wallkill Panthers the following day.
It was the second time the Vikings had beaten the Goldbacks this season, having handed them a 12-5 defeat on April 12 in Newburgh. Although the Vikings ran a 2-4 record in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division II behind the Warwick Wildcats and the Pine Bush Bushmen, they’ve qualified for the Section 9 Class AA tournament by finishing the regular season with 10-8 overall record.
The Vikings had to show they could beat the Goldbacks three times as they earned the No. 4 seed in the Section 9 Class AA tournament. They were scheduled to host the No. 5 Goldbacks on Monday. The winner will visit the top-seeded Warwick Wildcats on Wednesday.