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Vikings open 2019 campaign

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

BASEBALL

The Huntington North baseball team opened up their 2019 season over the weekend in Lafayette, Indiana, with a trio of games in the Joe Heath Classic.

The Vikings fell 5–1 to McCutcheon on Friday before shutting out Harrison 7–0 and losing 6–2 to Lafayette Jeff on Saturday to open their schedule with a 1–2 record.

McCutcheon started the scoring on Friday with a run in the bottom of the second to take a 1–0 lead.

The Vikings answered in the top of the fourth inning, as senior Nathan Hall doubled to deep right field to bring home sophomore Gavin Price, who was pinch running for senior pitcher Trey Williams. The run tied the game at 1–1.

However, McCutcheon exploded for four runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to three hits and three errors by the Huntington North defense to take hold of a 5–1 lead, which would prove to be the game’s final score as the Vikings could not answer in the top of the seventh.

Williams took the loss on the mound for Huntington North, throwing five innings while giving up five hits and three runs, with one being unearned.

Senior pitcher Levi Bennett tossed two-thirds of an inning for the Vikings, allowing three hits and two runs, though one was unearned, as well as striking out one McCutcheon batter.

Hall recorded one-third of an inning for Huntington North, throwing five pitches to get a groundout to end the sixth inning.

Game one on Saturday proved to be a different story, as the Vikings quickly jumped out to a 2–0 lead over Harrison thanks to a deep double by Williams to score Bennett and Price.

Huntington North continued to pour it on in the top of the third inning, tacking on three more runs compliments of RBIs by senior Keegan Bartrom, Williams and Hall to extend the Viking lead to 5–0.

A wild pitch by Harrison’s pitcher in the top of the fourth allowed sophomore Brooks Nicely to score and expand the Huntington North lead to 6–0, while another wild pitch in the top of the sixth allowed sophomore Matthew Schnepp to round out the scoring and cap off a 7–0 victory for the Vikings.

Senior pitcher Mason Anderson got the win on the mound for Huntington North, throwing five innings while giving up just one hit and striking out 10 Harrison batters.

Sophomore pitcher Nicholas Johnson came on in relief to toss one and one-third innings. Johnson did not allow any hits and struck out a pair of Raiders.

Schnepp pitched the final two-thirds of an inning for the Vikings, needing just three pitches to close out the game for Huntington North.

In the final game of the weekend for the Vikings, it would be Lafayette Jeff grabbing an early lead and building on it, eventually taking a 5–0 advantage into the fifth inning.

Huntington North made things interesting by scoring a pair of runs in the fifth inning, as a single by senior Zach Daugherty brought in Schnepp and Bennett to cut the Viking deficit to 5–2.

That would be as close as Huntington North would get the rest of the day, as Lafayette Jeff tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning before scoreless sixth and seventh innings to salt away the 6–2 triumph for Lafayette Jeff.

Nicely started on the mound for the Vikings, but lasted just one-third of an inning before being replaced, giving up one earned run in his limited action.

Senior pitcher Brett Kaylor came on to throw the rest of the contest for Huntington North, allowing seven hits and five runs, though two were unearned. Kaylor also struck out a trio of Lafayette Jeff batters in the loss.

The Vikings will return to action today for their home opener against Homestead at 5 p.m.

TRACK AND FIELD

The Huntington North boys and girls track and field teams hosted Muncie Central on Friday night at Kriegbaum Field.

The boys team squeaked out a narrow 68–62 victory, while the girls claimed a sizable 88–39 win.

Seniors Jarid Miller and Brock Spahr and junior Nate Burns highlighted Huntington North’s individual track events, as the trio each earned wins in events.

Miller earned the title in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:09.8, as the Vikings claimed each of the top four spots in the event.

Spahr took home the 3,200 meter run with a winning time of 10:02.0, which was nearly 30 seconds better than the second-place finisher.

“My goal was to go sub-10 (minutes),” Spahr said. “I had been sub-10 before. I’m not disappointed, I guess. It’s just a dual meet and I ran it all by myself. I would have liked to have been sub-10. I’ve learned that running is so much of a mental game, so nights like tonight not to let it get to me. It just is what it is, so I just have to accept it.”

Burns earned his victory in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 42.4 seconds, edging Muncie Central’s Da’Marion Walker by 1.4 seconds.

The Vikings won two of three team relay events, claiming the 4x800 meter relay and the 4x400 meter relay.

Junior Isaiah Clampitt, senor Alex Bishop, sophomore Connor Miller and junior Cody McCune finished first in the 4x800, blowing away the competition with a winning time of 8:58.4.

Huntington North’s quartet of Burns, Jarid Miller, sophomore Lawson Shearer and senior Nolan Hughes capped off the night with a thrilling photo-finish victory in the 4x400 meter relay, edging Muncie Central’s team by just 0.7 seconds with a winning time of 3:39.3.

The Vikings cleaned up in the field events, winning four of the five events.

Senior Ricky Haught finished first in both the long jump and pole vault. Haught jumped 21 feet and 2.5 inches to win the long jump, while his nine-foot height gave him the win in the pole vault.

“Long jump, personally, for me went well,” Haught said. “Just coming back from ninth grade, (I) didn’t do pole vault sophomore (or) junior year, (I) just got back, had one day of practice (and) felt good in that. And then, the rest of the team just put out. We did good; in my opinion, we did really good tonight. … There’s a lot I need to work on. I’m not an advocate track person. In the offseason, I’m not doing track (because) it was always wrestling, wrestling, wrestling and more wrestling like all the time. This year—my last year—wrestling didn’t go the way I wanted it, so I’m trying to push my body real hard (and) work real hard in track and achieve my goal of going to state (and) hopefully placing at state, whether it’s long jump, whether it’s pole vault (or) whether our team goes in the 4x100.”

Freshman Zach Hubartt won the high jump by clearing six feet, while senior Max Hughes won the shot put with a throw of 41 feet and 8.25 inches.

On the girls side, there was not much the Vikings did not win, as Huntington North claimed wins in 11 of 16 total events.

In individual track events, junior Meg McDonald (400 meter dash, 1:05.8), freshman Addy Wiley (800 meter run, 2:27.9) and senior Alena Miller (1,600 meter run, 5:42.1 and 3,200 meter run, 12:44.6) all won their events.

Huntington North also earned a pair of team relays titles, with junior Allie Aschliman, McDonald, Wiley and senior Brooke Goodrich claiming the 4x400 meter relay with a winning time of 4:22.8 and Goodrich, junior Kendyl Coles, sophomore Lesley Zook and Wiley finishing first in the 4x800 meter relay in 10:59.1.

The Vikings swept all five of the field events, as sophomore Preslee Williams (high jump, 4 feet and 10 inches), seniors Veronika Russell (pole vault, 9 feet and 6 inches) and Peyton Dorsett (long jump, 14 feet and 5.75 inches), freshman Isabel Niswander (shot put, 30 feet and 3 inches) and sophomore Maddie Husband (84 feet) all won their respective events.

“Overall, (I am) pleased,” said head coach Scott Bower. “We got some decent weather tonight so it allowed us to get some good efforts. … There’s a lot of positives to take. There’s always things to work on, but it’s nice to get nice weather for an outdoor meet; it just makes perform a little bit better.”

Huntington North’s boys and girls track teams will return to action today when they host Bellmont at 5 p.m. at Kriegbaum Field.