Vikings sweep first-place Bengals
The Coeur d’Alene baseball team revived some of the old magic Saturday afternoon.
The Vikings swept league-leading Lewiston 4-3 and 7-5 in an Inland Empire League doubleheader. It was appropriate considering Coeur d’Alene dedicated its field in honor of former coach Ted Page, whose teams regularly held their own against the Bengals.
It’s the first time CdA has beaten Lewiston since 2006.
“It’s been too long,” CdA first-year coach and graduate Nick Rook said.
The sweep is an indication of how much the Vikings have improved under Rook this season. Lewiston beat CdA three times earlier this year – once in a non-league game the opening weekend and twice in a league doubleheader at Lewiston last month.
The victories pulled CdA (13-6 overall, 8-3 league) within a game of Lewiston (12-3, 9-2). Each team has five remaining games including two each with Lake City.
Senior right-handed pitcher Jackson Seaman got the Vikings off to a good start. He scattered four hits and struck out five.
“That’s the best he’s ever thrown,” Rook said.
Seaman, who is headed to North Dakota State, shared the credit.
“I got a lot of comments after the game, ‘Good job Jack,’ but I’ve got to really give it to my defense behind me,” Seaman said. “They had an outstanding game.”
Lewiston coach Tom Grunenfelder was impressed.
“Seaman threw as good a game against us as anybody has all year,” Grunenfelder said. “He had great velocity and was sneaking some balls by us.”
Rook countered with slow-throwing sophomore Jake Pereira in the second game, thinking it would cause the Bengals to be off balance. He was right. The Bengals were never able to measure Pereira.
“They just outplayed us all day long,” Grunenfelder said.
In the first game, Devon Austin had a two-run double and Ryan Dunton followed with a run-scoring single in the fifth inning.
In the second game, Dunton had the big hit in CdA’s five-run second inning when he hit a grand slam.
“We’re trying to waste a pitch and the guy hits it out,” Grunenfelder said of Dunton’s slam. “We missed by three or four inches there and didn’t get the ball down.”
Lewiston has lost three in a row after winning its first 12.
“It’s not time to hit the panic button or anything,” Grunenfelder said. “We didn’t play well and they did. I don’t want to take anything away from them (the Vikings).”
After opening 2-5, CdA has won 11 of its last 12 including six in a row. The Vikings’ lone loss in the stretch was a one-run decision.
“We’ve felt good about the way things have been going,” Rook said. “It’s just about turning that corner. Hopefully, we’ve turned the corner here. You only turn the corner if you keep going, though.”
Page was on hand with his wife and two adult daughters as the field was dedicated 30 minutes before the doubleheader.
“I was excited to honor Ted Page like that,” Seaman said about the sweep.
Page thanked the many friends who turned out for the ceremony and then acknowledged how much fun it was to go against rival Lewiston. He shook hands with Grunenfelder, who was in his first year at the Lewiston helm in Page’s final year at CdA (1994).