Vikings drop another close game, lose 4-3 to ARC


Kain Piyanuluk

DVC starting pitcher Andrew Merken winds up on March 6 against American River College.

Daniel Maraccini, Features editor

The Diablo Valley College baseball team lost another close game 4-3 to the American River College Beavers. The Vikings now fall to 3-12 in the season.

“I’ve been coaching 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Diablo Valley College head coach Steve Ward. “We can’t win if we don’t do the little things right.”

Those “little things,” good fielding, patience at the plate, and hits with runners in scoring position, were frequently absent in the Viking performance.

Multiple fielding errors in the top of the fourth, one off a dropped ball by shortstop Josh Stevens and another off a wild throw by third-baseman Hudson Bishop, led to an unearned run for ARC and an early 2-0 lead.

The DVC pitching staff, headed by the trio of Andrew Merken, Cody Bail, and Eric Crispell, probably did enough to win. None of the three was dominant, but each gave up only a run in almost equal amounts of three-inning work.

What did DVC in for their fifth one-run loss of the season were those previously mentioned errors, and the five runners they left in scoring position.

They tied the game in the fifth after an RBI double by first baseman Leo Costa and a wild pickoff by ARC Beavers starter Tommy Balmain. But the Vikings couldn’t take advantage.

Costa hit an RBI double in the fifth, then later scored off a wild pickoff throw. Though this tied the game, DVC’s next two batters couldn’t punch in the runner on third.

Balmain pitched seven mostly strong innings, giving up only two earned runs off of eight hits. While not unhittable, Balmain gave up only one extra base hit, and the Vikings never seemed to rattle him.

After again tying the game in the seventh, the Vikings fell behind for good. A two out rally in the eighth and an RBI single by Beaver shortstop Cameron Bennett proved to be the game-winner.

Left-fielder Ian Hardman was frustrated with his team’s performance at the plate.

“I had five guys in scoring position and I couldn’t get a hit, so a lot of that blame falls on me,” he said. “I don’t think we’re too far off as a team … it’s just all these close games we’re barely losing.”

The Vikings will see if they can turn it around with league play opening at 2:30 p.m on March 10 at Modesto College.