Warsaw senior Avery Sleeth gets on base with a single in the second inning.
Warsaw senior Avery Sleeth gets on base with a single in the second inning.
AKRON – A Southwestern wind ranging from 10 to 25 miles per hour was blowing from home plate to center and right center field late Friday afternoon in the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings’ final home game.

Each of the teams had players capable of knocking the ball out of the park, but Molly Moriarty, Valley’s slugging infielder was the only athlete to connect on a round-tripper in best form with a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning in the Vikings’ regular-season ending 16-9 win over Warsaw.

Valley (18-7 overall) also benefitted from Brittany Benn’s game-leading five RBIs in an early see-saw battle where the Vikings’ sustained their offensive groove longer than the Tigers (3-23 overall).

It would be easy to just wait for walks against Tiger pitching to head into the postseason, but coach Brittany Mathias made sure her squad was aggressive at the plate.

“We have sectionals next week,” Mathias said, “so the best preparation for next week was to have the most hitting practice we could have. Just going out there and attacking the ball, and to be aggressive  yet still be disciplined enough to wait for and swing at the right pitches was our focus tonight.”

Warsaw jumped on their hosts with a four-run first inning with RBI singles from Avery Sleeth (2 for 4, a double, 3 RBI for the game), and Lauren Eastwood (2-4, double, RBI).

The orange and black followed the opening frame by shutting out the Vikings heading into the bottom of the second inning before Moriarty’s game-tying grand slam.

The Tigers are tenacious, however, and the young squad continued to fight, moving ahead of Valley at the top of the fourth stanza 8-6 before their hosts racked up four additional runs to finish four full innings with a 10-8 lead.

“I like where we’re at right now,” Warsaw head coach Kevin Dishman said about building his young squad’s confidence for Wednesday’s upcoming section game versus Concord.

“We’re physically and mentally ready,” Dishman continued, “and it’s nice to have speed among those younger players. We’re ready for Concord. We want them bad.”

Northern Lakes Conference foe Concord defeated the Tigers twice in the regular season, but recently hung close with them in a 16-11 loss.

The Vikings, in the meantime, never looked back after moving ahead 10-8. They fortified their lead with a six-run fifth inning where Benn brought three teammates across home plate closing out Valley’s offensive output for the contest.

Tippecanoe Valley faces Rochester Monday in the Wabash Class 2A sectional.