Baseball is just as much a mental game as it is physical.
Although there are many innings in a game, one rough one could mean the difference between a win and a loss. The Vauxhall Vikings found that out the hard way in its Tier I league championship in Medicine Hat over the weekend in a loss to the hosts.
The defending champion, the Vikings dominated in its opening round with an 18-2 win over High River.
Then came the grudge match against host Medicine Hat, coming off the heels of a heated affair and the Vikings’ victory over Medicine Hat, in its last game of the regular season that pushed Medicine Hat to the fourth seed in the tournament in its division. One inning proved the difference as the second inning saw the Vikings get seven runs plated on them as Vauxhall trailed 8-0 after two innings.
“We made an error in the field that would have likely have been a double play, a ball that just fell in and a couple of walks got compounded after making the error. Before we knew it, it was 8-0,” said Rob Virginillo, head coach of the Vauxhall Vikings baseball team. “Baseball is so mental. We can go four or five games without a mistake, and that one game where you make a couple of mistakes, the other team takes advantage of it, which we have done to other teams in the past. And they did that to us, we blinked and it’s like ‘what just happened?’”
The Vikings did manage to make a game of it, fighting back with a run in the fifth inning and six runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 9-7 loss, dashing the Vikings hopes of repeating for a Tier I championship banner.
“They threw their little offspeed guy we had seen before in our first game and he seemed to keep us off balance where we couldn’t square up to the ball,” said Virginillo, of Medicine Hat which would eventually go on to beat Eagle Butte in the TIer I championship final.
“But, we fought back and we were right there. We were one or two hits away from tying it. We had first and third base in the sixth and we line drived it where the second baseman made a nice play on it. He misses it, and it goes all the way to the wall where we definitely score some runs. I was proud of the guys, they worked hard and right up until the end we had a chance, unfortunately it was just that one inning.”