St. Mary showed again it can bounce back well after a loss.
Three days after a heartbreaking All A state tournament defeat, the Vikings beat the sixth-ranked McCracken County Mustangs 4-2 at home Tuesday to take control of the Second District race.
They've followed each of their three losses with winning streaks.
"We're at a point in the season that that sometimes can be a question mark, kind of see what you're made of," Vikings coach Matt Smith. "They're able to rebound and refocus. They've proven it after every loss we've had."
The Vikings (16-3) used a sixth-inning rally to beat the Mustangs (22-8).
After Mustangs starting pitcher Preston Frommeyer hit two batters with one out, the Mustangs turned to reliever Cole Womack. Womack allowed a two-run double to Nick Eggemeyer, the first batter he faced, on an 0-2 count that gave the Vikings a 3-2 lead.
"That's the great thing about baseball, good and bad," Smith said. "Things can turn on a dime."
John Higgins singled home Eggemeyer two batters later for the 4-2 score.
The Vikings needed the comeback after the Mustangs scored once apiece in the second and third innings. The Mustangs loaded the bases each time against Eggemeyer with no outs, but both innings ended the same: strikeout, RBI groundout and strikeout.
"That's pitching when we need it right there," Vikings catcher Brian Johnston said.
"It never comes down to one play or one at-bat or one pitch," Mustangs coach Geno Miller said. "There's several things we could've done different. Sometimes certain things stick out more than others. But at the end of the day, we had chances early, but Eggemeyer made pitches."
The Vikings scored their first run in the fifth after Brett Quigley was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on an error. He scored on a throwing error by Mustangs third baseman Austin Mourad, who had made an excellent play to field the ball.
The Vikings' sixth-inning rally ended what had been an excellent outing for Frommeyer, who took the loss. Daniel Seitzinger and Dylan Humphrey produced the Mustangs' lone RBIs.
Vikings reliever Austin Shaw earned the victory with four scoreless innings.
The two teams play again at McCracken County at 7 p.m. Thursday. The game was previously scheduled for Friday but was moved up because of concerns about the weather.
The Mustangs will have to show they can bounce back from a loss, something the Vikings showed Tuesday to give them control of their destiny in winning the Second District and earn an automatic berth into the First Region tournament.
"We said, 'You know what? If we focus on that loss (in the All A state tournament), we aren't going to come back,'" Johnston said. "We had to get that out of our system to beat McCracken. That's what we did. It's huge. It's been a team on our calendar all year we wanted to beat."
McCracken County 011 000 0 2 7 4
St. Mary 000 013 x 4 3 3
Frommeyer, Womack (6) and Schneider; Eggemeyer, Shaw (4) and Johnston.
2B: StM-Eggemeyer. 3B: none. HR: none. Top hitters: McC-Williams 2-4, Breese 2-3; StM-Eggemeyer 1-3 (2 RBIs), Johnston 1-2.
Call Daniel Paulling, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662, or follow on Twitter @DanielPaulling.
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