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KINGSBURG - Behind a seven run fourth inning, the Kingsburg Vikings earned its first Central Sequoia League victory of the season after defeating Hanford West 14-7 at home on March 15.

Kingsburg had a total of 16 hits and five players with multi-hit performances.

The Vikings’ 14 runs were the most the team has scored all season. Kingsburg improved to 3-6 overall and 1-1 in CSL play after the victory.

“This is a jump start,” Vikings shortstop Ray Castro said about the win. “It’s like that fire. We just lit it and this is the team I’ve always known.”

Castro knocked in five runs behind a 4-for-4 day at the plate. The senior fell a home run short of the cycle after hitting two singles, a double, and a triple.

The shortstop had a total of three hits heading into the game.

“I was just thinking about helping my team out getting singles,” Castro said. “Whatever happened after happen. Like that triple, I thought it was a single and I saw it and it just kept on going.”

After scoring seven runs in the fourth inning, Kingsburg led the Huskies 11-5.

Before the Vikings started its scoring binge, Hanford West had two different leads of 3-0 and 5-3, but Kingsburg rallied back from both deficits.

The Vikings were down 5-4 through innings after Castro cut the Huskies lead to one run. Castro hit an RBI double, which was his second hit of the game.

Hanford West’s 3-0 lead occurred in the top half of the first inning after Spencer Valenzuela (RBI single), Izaiah Varela (RBI single), and Ray Castaneda (RBI double) drove in runs for the Huskies.

Kingsburg tied the score 3-3 in the bottom half of the inning after catcher Daniel Ingrao (two-run double), and starting pitcher Adam Bratton (RBI double) knocked in runs for the Vikings.

“We should be able to do that every inning of every game easily,” Ingrao said.

Ingrao and Bratton both had three RBI performances while each hitting 2-for-3 at the plate.

Other notable performances include outfielder Marcus Estrada and second baseman Ross Warholm. Estrada scored two runs on a 3-for-4 day while Warholm went 2-for-4 with a RBI and run.

“Today we got a couple of big hits,” Vikings head coach Jim Cranford said. “Some guys got some clutch two-out base hits and that’s what wins games.”

Outside of four returners from last year, the team mostly features players in their first season at the varsity level. Castro and Ingrao are two of the four returners from last year's team. 

“We scheduled a bunch of games early because we knew we were going to be young,” Cranford said. “We have a lot of young bucks up here. The weather hitting us the way it did, we played eight games, but we only played one a week for a long time and baseball is hard to play like that.”

On March 12, the Vikings opened CSL play on the road with a 3-2 loss to Immanuel. Kingsburg had a 2-1 lead before the Eagles scored two runs in the sixth inning.

“After a close loss like that, you always want to come back and get a win,” Ingrao said. “Especially since now we’re 1-1 in league instead of 0-2, that loss really burned and we’re just hungry to get the ball rolling.”

A day after defeating the Huskies, the Vikings split both of its games of a doubleheader against Nipomo in the Central Coast. In game one, Kingsburg defeated the Nipomo Eagles Titans 5-0. In the second game, the Vikings fell 9-8 to Nipomo.

Kingsburg last played against Golden West in a nonleague game on Tuesday (after press time).

Up next

The Vikings are scheduled to continue CSL play on the road against Dinuba (4-6, 1-1 in CSL) on Friday. Last season, Kingsburg won the season series 2-1 over the Emperors. The two teams did play in a fourth meeting in the first round of the Central Section Division III playoffs, which ended in a 11-4 win for Dinuba.

On Saturday, the Vikings will play a nonleague game on the road against Lemoore. Kingsburg will continue CSL play at home against Central Valley Christian on March 26.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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