Viking Boosters Club
Vikes Win Wild One Over Ledford 18-17
May 15, 2011Union Pines High School
Union Pines survived to play another day by besting Ledford 18-17 in the first round of the NCHSAA 3A baseball playoffs Friday at Viking Field.
The Vikes played legitimate long ball early on in the postseason tilt, bashing six home runs to a build a 15-0 lead through three innings of play.
Leading the way for the Vikes in their incredible opening offensive salvo was Seth Breasseale.
The junior first baseman went 3-for-3 with nine RBIs and two homers in his first three at-bats.
Breasseale’s first blast was a three-run shot to right center that gave Union Pines as 4-0 lead through one inning. His second round tripper — a grand slam to center — pushed Union Pines’ edge to 10-0.
“Tonight was amazing,” said Breasseale, who upped his Union Pines’ single-season home run record to 14.
“I was just trying everything I could to help us get that win,” he added. “The team needed this. We have been working hard all year long to get here.”
In the third inning, Breasseale collected his eighth and ninth RBIs of the game with a stand-up double to left center field. He went on to finish the night 3-for-4 with 10 RBIs, improving his team-leading total to 49 RBIs for the season.
Vikes Justin Allred, Noble Davis, and Keaton Thomas each chipped in with solo home runs, while Carson Kelly sent a two-run shot over the fence in center.
Despite enduring an early drubbing, Ledford proved to possess plenty of fight. The visiting Panthers mounted a serious charge as their bats burst to life in the top of the fourth inning.
The comeback bid began with Ledford plating nine runs in the top of the fourth to cut the Vike lead to 15-9. Panther junior Brock Philips went deep twice in the frame — once for a grand slam — to drive in five of his seven RBIs on the night.
After the Vikes scored three runs in the bottom of half of the fourth, Ledford replied by plating four runs on one hit, three walks, and two Union Pines’ errors to trail 18-13 in the middle of the fifth inning.
Ledford got even closer in the top of the seventh, cutting the Vike edge to 18-17 with the potential tying and go-ahead runners on first and second.
Thomas then snagged a pop-up, from his position at second base, to secure the game’s final out as Union Pines advanced on to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Union Pines snapped a three-game skid with the victory improving to 18-7. Ledford finishes the season at 10-11.
Allred, who led off the bottom of first with a prodigious cannon shot high and deep over the fence in left center, said the Vikes’ bad fortune of late did not dampen the teams’ spirit.
“My adrenaline was just pumping during that first at bat,” Allred said, “especially once I made contact. In a game like this we needed to stay up in the dugout and that is what we did.”
The first-inning bomb was Allred’s ninth homer of the season, placing him second on the team behind Breasseale.
Although he has not seen much time on the hill over the course of this season, Allred was also the winning pitcher for Union Pines.
“This win means a lot to us as a team and for the program,” said Allred. “It has been a long time since we have had one mean this much around here.”
Regularly the starting shortstop Allred was Union Pines third pitcher to work in fourth frame. With one out and two runners aboard, Allred took the mound and stopped the bleeding at nine runs. Using an old-fashioned heater, he got a pop-up and a strikeout to retire the side and prevent the Panthers from doing any more damage.
After the game, Viking head coach Chad Hill was proud of the effort and resolve he saw from his players.
“We were coming into tonight off three of our best practices of the season,” said Hill. “This is our second season. It is something we stressed all week as a team.
“The guys stepped up big time tonight and showed some real maturity. The played like we had been here before, so I have to tip my hat to them.”
Union Pines hits the road Tuesday, for second round state playoff action against Carolina Conference top-seed Chapel Hill (19-5), which advanced with a 10-0 victory over McMichael.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.