For the first time since 2014, the St. Mary Vikings have advanced to the First Region championship game after earning a 7-1 semifinal win over Calloway County late Sunday night at McCracken County High School.
Although Calloway County jumped on the board in the first inning, St. Mary plated two runs quickly when Colin Hrdlicka hit a pop fly and reached on an error at second, scoring Parker MacCauley.
Jack Bell's RBI single allowed Landon Durbin to score, making it 2-1 against the Lakers. Once the Vikings took the lead, they never looked back with a championship game in mind.
The Vikings picked up another run on an RBI double to right field by MacCauley, scoring Brett Haas.
By the bottom of the fourth, St. Mary led 4-1 when MacCauley singled on a fly ball to center field, scoring Cade Fleming.
Fleming continued the Vikings' offensive onslaught in the next inning with an RBI single, scoring Landre Smiles and Michael Lurtz. The hit would assist St. Mary in pushing the game out of reach for Calloway in the late innings.
The Lakers' five errors in the game would ultimately come back to haunt them in the bottom of the sixth inning when Durbin advanced to second base on an error at third.
During the same play, St. Mary would use courtesy runner Luke Sims for Durbin, who would score the night's final run on a wild pitch during Hrdlicka's last at-bat.
Fleming (one run, two hits, two RBIs), MacCauley (one run, two hits, two RBIs), Bell (two hits, one RBI), Lurtz (one run, one hit) and Brett Haas (one run, one hit) collected all eight hits for the victorious Vikings.
Luke Heath pitched a gem, earning the win for his team. Heath went five innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out four.
Brandon Quigley appeared in relief for Heath and threw two innings, recording the last six outs to earn the save for the Vikings. Quigley struck out four on the mound.
Cadwell Turner (one hit), Isaac Ward (one hit) and Gage Bazzell (one hit) collected Calloway County's three hits in the loss.
Austin Collie took the loss for the Lakers, surrendering six runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Collie struck out five in his appearance on the mound.
Ward took the mound to relieve Collie, throwing 1 2/3 innings and allowing one run on one hit. He struck out one and walked none.
St. Mary will play McCracken County for the First Region championship.