Tough going

LaBrae looks ahead to tournament after loss to Rootstown

Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes Malachi Roberts of LaBrae makes a throw to retire a Rootstown runner Friday at Eastwood Field. The Vikings lost, 11-2.

NILES — On Friday, the LaBrae Vikings hosted the Rootstown Rovers at Eastwood Field and lost in a lopsided game by a final score of 11-2.

“They (Rootstown) had a strong outing from their pitcher,” LaBrae coach Jim Bailey said. “We’ve run into a stretch where we get guys on base and we’re just not getting the key hit. Against a team like that, if you can get a crack in, then maybe things can start happening.

“But with his strong pitching we couldn’t get some bunts down, it just didn’t happen for us.”

The Rovers (16-3) kept applying pressure on LaBrae throughout the game, as they scored in four of the seven innings, which included two two-run innings, and a massive six-run 6th inning.

LaBrae hitters didn’t fare well at the plate, as they struck out 10 times against Rootstown’s pitching. That didn’t stop the Vikings (8-8) from battling hard.

Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes Dane Sprague of LaBrae knocks a single late in the Vikings’ 11-2 loss to Rootstown Friday at Eastwood Field in Niles.

LaBrae went into the bottom of the sixth inning, facing the mercy rule, down 11-0, and managed to plate two runs to force the game to go seven innings. Landen Kiser and Dane Sprague notched LaBrae’s two RBIs.

Bailey noticed that his team didn’t give up easily.

“We’re battlers.We’ve got a lot of young guys that are learning to deal with sometimes a hard game.”

Bailey also gave credit to the Rovers.

“They’re (Rootstown) a quality team, so for these young guys to come in and battle like they did and get a couple runs says a lot of their fortitude.”

Looking forward, LaBrae is tuning up for tournament play. The Vikings, seeded fifth in the Division III Niles District, open postseason play Monday at home in a sectional first-round game against Pymatuning Valley.

Rootstown is the No. 3 seed in the D-III Struthers District.

Bailey and his team are excited for the grind of postseason play.

“Our team plays well when they play a lot. This is our fourth game this week, then we’ve got our fifth game tomorrow, so we’re going to be OK.

“We got a good draw in the tournament, I think we’re going to be good.”