Vikings gaining traction in league play
Northern Vance continued its recent tear through its 3-A Big Eight Conference schedule with a 3-2 win over Cedar Ridge Monday night at Aycock Recreation Center.
Nate Arrington tied the game in the fourth inning for the Vikings on a solo home run before Kale Boone scored the winning run from third base in the bottom of the seventh on what head coach Benji Nelson described as a “bang-bang” play at the plate.
“From my view, I didn’t know whether he was out or safe,” said Nelson. “When we saw the umpire signal safe, we just erupted.”
Boone led off the inning with a single before being moved to second base on a Kyland Bullock bunt, then taking third on a wild pitch.
Northern (8-7, 5-5 Big Eight) lost the previous game at Cedar Ridge in extra innings.
The Vikings are 5-1 in their last six Big Eight outings, which include two wins over Cardinal Gibbons, marking the first sweep of the Crusaders since the schools have been paired in the same league.
“The chemistry on the team is great,” said Nelson. “We’ve been aggressive at the plate, swinging the bat; playing good defense, getting out of some tough situations. Our confidence is through the roof right now; that’s the biggest thing.”
That six-game stretch includes a 4-0 loss to Chapel Hill. The Tigers visit Aycock Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. or Thursday at the same time should soggy field conditions force a postponement.
Northern has recently been playing its home games at Aycock after the school deemed the fences at Northern’s field were unsafe.
Kevonte Hanks, one of four Viking seniors, started Monday and threw four innings before he was relieved by Boone.
Nelson said a home run by Hanks to dead center field at Southern Durham two weeks ago was one of the top-two farthest high school balls he’s seen hit. Northern’s coach also highlighted the recent hot hitting of Bullock.
In the home win against Gibbons, Arrington tallied three hits and three RBIs, Jared Bennett was 2-for-4 and Tabrian Scott was 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
Scott also had a pair of RBIs in the win at Gibbons, as did Boone. Hanks had three RBIs in that game and Chris Paulson was 3-for-3.
Northern has five league games left and starts spring break on Friday. Orange is on top of the league, followed by Chapel Hill; after those two, Nelson said the middle of the conference is “wide open.”
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