VALE — The Vale baseball team got some late heroics and were able to come from behind for a big 4-3 win over Burns/Crane on Tuesday in the first round of the Special District 5 tournament.

The win means the Vikings will play Joseph/Enterprise/Wallowa Elgin in the district semifinals on Friday at Irrigon. The winner of that game will play Irrigon for the league crown.

While the Viking offense struggled with consistency, they fell behind early after a two-RBI double put Burns ahead two in the top of the second inning.

Colton Kesey would inch Vale back by scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third inning.

The Hilanders made it a two-run game again in the top of the fifth inning, with a score on a fielder’s choice.

But Vale’s bats finally started heating up in the bottom of the fifth inning. Matt McBride hit an RBI single to close it. Two at-bats later, Jason Ponce nailed a single, which hopped over the third baseman and into the outfield to score two more.

Ponce would end up being Vale’s top hitter on Tuesday, with two hits and two RBIs. McBride had one hit, one RBI and scored once. Kesey scored two runs.

The Hilanders threatened a late comeback with Kesey loading the bases in the top of the seventh inning. But a line drive to a jumping Dallin Eddy sealed the game for Vale.

McBride was dominant on the mound for the Vikings on Tuesday. The junior pitched five innings, allowing four hits, walking four and striking out 10. Kesey came in for the later two innings, allowing two hits and five walks while striking out three.

The win feels extra good for the Vikings, who just picked up an 11-5 loss to Burns on May 6.

The Vikings split their doubleheader with Joseph/Enterprise/Wallowa/Elgin, with a 12-2 win and a 6-5 loss on April 12.


Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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