While at times not pretty, the Viola Longhorns still managed to pick up a 6-2 win over the Izard County Consolidated Cougars March 13 at Viola City Park.
A batch of mistakes on ICC's part led to a big five-run third inning for Viola, while a parcel of miscues on the Horns' part in the sixth and seventh innings gave the Cougars hope at stealing a late come-from-behind win.
With the Longhorns on top 6-2, the Cougars made plans for a rally in the visitor's half of the sixth inning.
Brett Haney started things off for ICC by drawing a walk to give the Cougars a baserunner. Next up, Steven Walker reached first on an error and then Jeremy Burns juiced the sacks by working the count in his favor for the second walk of the frame.
Then Viola starter Austin Springfield dug down and retired the next three Cougar hitters in order, leaving the bases full of ICC runners to end the inning.
Fast forward to the top of the seventh and it was almost a bad case of deja vu for the Horns.
Kyle McCandlis started ICC's last shot at a comeback by drawing a free pass. Springfield got the next two Cougar hitters, but then two straight base-on-balls once again gave ICC a chance at runs with the bases loaded, though this time with two outs.
Springfield once again found an extra ounce of energy and ended the game with a strikeout, picking up the complete-game victory in Viola's 6-2 win.
In seven innings work, Springfield struck out six while walking 10 and giving up three hits.
Adam Montgomery started on the mound for ICC and worked four innings, giving up four hits while walking four, hitting one and fanning three. McCandlis came on in relief of Montgomery in the fifth and allowed one hit while fanning two in two innings for the Cougars.
The Longhorns' efforts on the afternoon were bolstered by the play of Jeremiah Johnson in centerfield.
Montgomery (hit, RBI) got ICC on the board in the top of the third with a hard shot to deep center, scoring McCandlis (hit) on the hit. As Montgomery rounded second base on the hit, he had no intention of stopping with a single, and headed for third.
Johnson tracked down the ball in center and made a pinpoint throw to third where a sliding Montgomery was tagged out for the Cougars' third out of the inning, keeping ICC from doing any further damage.
In the visitor's half of the fifth, Johnson came up big again.
Dustin Noblin hit a sharp shot to center, but a diving Johnson knocked the ball down and was then able to pick it up and gun down Noblin at second for a big out.
Viola touched the scoreboard first on the game, as Springfield reached first base on a throwing error, allowing Kyle Nottingham to come home on the play for the first run of the day.
After ICC knotted the game at 1-all in the top of the fifth, the Longhorns moved ahead to stay in the bottom of the frame.
Casey Comstock (hit) led off with a hit past short for Viola, and then Jesse Shrable followed with a walk.
Johnson (hit) then strode into the box for the Horns and planted a shot to left that was mishandled, bringing home Comstock and Shrable.
Johnson later came in to score on a hit to left from Ethan Houghtaling (two hits).
But Viola wasn't done quite yet, taking advantage of a couple of Cougar errors to plate two more runs.
Springfield (hit) hit into a fielder's choice, but an alert Houghtaling caught ICC napping and was able to score on the play.
Then Kasy Humphries made it to first on a third strike in the dirt, and in an effort to throw Humphries out, the Cougars threw the ball away instead, giving Springfield the opportunity to come home from third, giving Viola five runs in the inning and a 6-1 lead after three.
The Cougars got one of those runs back in the top of the fourth on a shot to right from Burns (hit, RBI) that plated Walker.
And despite facing two bases-loaded situations in the last two innings, Springfield managed to right the ship and guide his Longhorns to a 6-2 win over the Cougars.