Not one or just two, but three Fort Walton Beach Vikings hit home run blasts in a 16-1 win over the visiting Pensacola High Tigers in varsity baseball action Thursday night at Daniel Bohannon Field.
Senior Justice Lucas smacked one over left field fence in the third inning, then in the fourth senior Waylon Steele clobbered a fast ball over the left centerfield fence for a grand slam. Also in the fourth inning, junior Viking Cameron Gagliano belted a homer over the right center field fence for two RBIs.
“It was a fast ball right down the middle,” said Gagliano, a lefty, after he got back to the dugout.
This was Gagliano’s first homer as a varsity Viking.
Home runs were not the only hits for the Vikings. When the final tally was in, Fort Walton Beach had collected a total of 16 hits.
“We’ve swung the bat well and lost games,” said Fort Walton Beach Brian McDaniel. “We’ve outhit four opponents and lost. But we come out here today and when we decided not to try and pull everything and stay inside the ball … we hit some barrels.
“Justice swung it well all night. Cam has been swinging it well all year. And Waylon got him one … that was a big deal,” he added.
In the first inning, Gagliano started things off with a triple deep to right field. He later scored on a sacrifice fly from Steele.
In the second, the Vikings added one more run. Alex Holz was hit by a pitch and scored on a single from Gagliano.
In the top of the third, Pensacola put one run on the board. Hunter Rayburn doubled to right center and scored on a single from Damyis Olds.
The Vikings got the run back in the bottom half on the solo home-run shot from Lucas.
The fourth inning was the end-all inning. The Vikings connected for 12 hits to score 13 runs. Holz doubled and scored on a single from Robbie Leach. Hayden Hubbard walked and Gagliano was hit by a pitch. Griffin Wilbur reached on a fielder’s choice and Leach was tagged out at the plate. With the bases loaded, Steele nailed a fast ball over the left centerfield fence for a grand slam. Steele’s hit opened the flood gate of hits for the Vikings. Lucas, Adam Anderson and Tobias Ward-Boulden hit back-to-back doubles. Holz hit another single. Hubbard singled for two RBIs, and then Gagliano hammered one over the right field fence for two RBIs. Wilbur and Steele hit back-to-back singles, and then Lucas hit a single to drive in the last two runs to push the lead to 15 runs for a run-ruling on the game.
For the game, Ward-Boulden went the distance on the mound for the Vikings. He gave up two hits, walked one and hit two batters.
“Tobias (Ward-Bouldin) did enough. He got out there and pitched and did enough,” McDaniel said.
Up next for the Vikings is a 6:30 p.m. Monday at home against the Crestview Bulldogs.