Vikings lack timely hit in loss to Jaguars

Tina Harbuck

Although the Fort Walton Beach Vikings connected for enough hits to win, they couldn’t get that timely hit. Fort Walton Beach lost 5-3 to the visiting West Florida High Jaguars of Pensacola Thursday night at Daniel Bohannon Field.

“When we had the bases loaded with one out we didn’t that one big hit we needed,” said Viking Coach Brian McDaniel.

In the third inning, the Vikings had the chance to take the lead. Cam Gagliano, who finished the night with three hits, singled to right and then Giffin Wilbur hit a bunt-sacrifice to move him around. Tobias Ward-Boulden reached on an error and then Waylon Steele unloaded on a curve ball up the middle to score Gagliano for a 2-2 tie. Adam Anderson followed with a single to left to load the bases with one out. The next Viking struck out and then Robbie Leach hit a fielder’s choice with Anderson going down at second.

Fort Walton scored its first run in the second inning on a hard-hit single by Hayden Hubbard.

In the fifth inning, the Jaguars put up three unearned runs on walks and a couple of mishaps at the plate with wild pitches and passed balls.

In the bottom half, Fort Walton started strong with Ward-Boulden leading out with a double down the left field line. However, he was left stranded when the next three went down on a pop fly and two ground outs.

In the sixth, Fort Walton put one more run on the board. Leach walked and scored on a hard-hit triple to right center field fence by Gagliano.

The Vikings failed to get a runner on base in the seventh.

“We didn’t catch enough baseballs,” McDaniel said. “We didn’t play high-level catch … and gave up four unearned runs.”

The Vikings used two pitchers in the contest. Ward-Boulden started on the mound and 4 faced 22 batters, struck seven, walked four and gave up four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Anderson finished up and faced 14 batters, struck out two, walked two and gave up three hits.

“Tobias pitched his tail off … I thought he had a good outing,” McDaniel said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done tonight.

“We just didn’t catch the ball. We catch four or five more balls cleanly and we’ve got a shot,” he added.

Up next for Fort Walton is a 6:30 p.m. game on April 12 at Gulf Breeze.