Colton beats number one Salem Academy
Colton—On paper, it was going to be a tough outing for the Vikings against Salem Academy. Colton's baseball team was last in the PacWest Conference, and the Crusaders were unbeaten in league play up to that point. While the first game was close, it was still the #1 teams win. The second time around, there was an upset.
The Colton Vikings bested Salem Academy 9-7 on Tuesday, May 7. Colton improves to 8-9 overall, and 3-5 in the PacWest Conference. With the loss, Salem Academy receives its first blemish in league play, falling to 6-1, and 10-2 overall. It also snapped an eight game winning streak for the Crusaders.
"I'm feeling really good for these boys," Colton head coach Jason Stewart said. "They've come together and played baseball. That's all they did. They believe. We got new hats, new shirts, it's all gravy right now."
Part of the Vikings success on Tuesday was taking advantage of passed balls that the Salem Academy defense was unable to grab. Colton scored 4-of-9 runs stealing home on passed balls that got past the catcher.
"We try to get into the pitchers head when we're on base which makes the pitcher throw balls and he can't concentrate," Stewart said. "When it hits the ground and goes to the backstop, we score."
From the mound, Colton was solid. Starting pitcher Dawson Hall struck out seven batters over the first five innings, and freshman relief pitcher Jeremiah Armas closed the show in the final innings. The team survived a brief resurgence in the seventh when the Crusaders pulled in two runners to bring the score within two runs, but Colton's outfield defended well.
"We tend to have a hard time in the fourth and fifth inning," Stewart said. "In baseball you have to close. You have to believe, and keep believing. You know as well as me, the game of baseball can go any way. If you're playing the number one team or the number 10 team, it's just the way it is."
With the win, the Vikings are looking to the reach the postseason. It all depends on how things shake out with the rest of the league, but if things fall into place, the Vikings may take a stab at the post season. In the meanwhile, Colton is scheduled finish it's regular season of play with a game against nearby 1A competitor Country Christian (4-14 overall) on Friday, May 11. The two teams were scheduled to play earlier in the year, but the game was cancelled to prioritize a league matchup with Jefferson.