TARBORO – Tarboro finished Wednesday night with three hits.
The top four batters in the St. Maria Goretti (Md.) lineup combined to reach base in 15 of its 20 plates appearances, drive in eight runs and score seven times.
Tarboro trailed by seven heading into the bottom of the fifth inning and was in serious jeopardy of being mercied out of the first round of its own tournament.
But the Vikings never went away and proved opportunism can overcome conventional baseball.
The Vikings scored eight runs in the final three innings, including five in the sixth inning, and stole a victory in the quarterfinals of the Tarboro Easter Baseball Classic at Tarboro Municipal Stadium.
Travis Martin capped the victory with a game-winning, one-out RBI sacrifice fly to center field, which brought in Tristan Bateman for the winning run.
“I just went up there and wanted to make solid contact,” Martin said. “We knew when we got down, we had to keep fighting. We couldn’t hang our heads, and we didn’t. That’s why we won.”
Hardly anything went right for Tarboro in the first five innings as the Gaels consistently were able to move runners into scoring position and bring them home.
The Vikings needed four pitchers to make it through six innings, but Trey Radford came in and obtained the final six outs without allowing a hit.
Adam Bartholomew came into the game for St. Maria Goretti in the sixth, hit four Tarboro batters and walked another, sparking a six-run Vikings’ rally that tied the score.
Radford held the Gaels in the top of the seventh, then Martin knocked home Bateman, who had singled, for the winning run.
“You always worry about how your team is going to respond when they’re down big,” Tarboro coach Justin Smith said. “This was a growing game for us. We’re hopefully going to carry this momentum through the rest of the tournament.”
Tarboro will play Jefferson Area today.
Jefferson Area (Ohio) 9, SouthWest Edgecombe 6
Jefferson Area scored three runs in the top of the eighth to send SouthWest Edgecombe to the losers’ bracket.
The lead changed six times in the ball game and needed extras after the Cougars rallied for a seventh-inning run.
SouthWest Edgecombe will play St. Maria Goretti today.
Jefferson Area 9, SouthWest Edgecombe 6
JA 004 002 03 – 9 9 4
SWE 120 110 10 – 6 4 4
WP: Troy Bloom (4IP, 4R, 1ER, 1H, 4BB, 2K); LP: Brayden Morris (2.1IP, 4R, 3ER, 4H, 4BB, 2K).
2B: Scott Davidson (JA), Matt Barber (JA), Cole Erdel (JA).
Tarboro 11, St. Maria Goretti 10
SMG 220 330 0 – 10 12 3
T 201 025 1 – 11 3 1
WP: Trey Radford (2IP, 0R, 0ER, 0H, 3BB, 4K); LP: Adam Bleckenstone (1.1IP, 2R, 2ER, 2H, 3BB, 1K).
2B: Jake Moats (SMG); Casey Bartholomew (SMG); . 3B: Moats (SMG); Will Dupree (T).