DeQuincy, Vinton split district title

<p>DeQuincy shortstop Luke Miller attempts to turn a double play during the first inning on Thursday.</p>Rodrick Anderson/American PressRodrick Anderson Prep Sports Reporter

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<p class="p1">VINTON — It’s a split decision in District 5-2A.

<p class="p3">DeQuincy took advantage of some early troubles for Vinton to win 6-4 on Thursday and forced the teams to share the district title.

<p class="p3">“That (district title) was one of our goals at the beginning of the season,” DeQuincy head coach Brady Carlson said. “We would have like to win it outright, but Vinton is a really good team. We are happy to get a share of it.”

<p class="p3">DeQuincy (22-7, 9-1) extended its win streak to seven games and will likely enter the playoffs next week with a top-four seed in Class 2A.

<p class="p3">Vinton (12-8, 9-1) started the first matchup with a 4-0 lead and went on to win 5-3, but this time DeQuincy started with a 4-0 lead without a hit as Vinton ace pitcher Tanner Young uncharacteristically had control problems, hitting three batters and walking three.

<p class="p3">“We gave up four runs in the first inning and I don’t think they (DeQuincy) had a hit,” Vinton head coach Jason Tharp said. “They are a good team and have been ranked in the top five all year.

<p class="p3">“You give a team like that four runs in the first inning, it is tough.”

<p class="p3">Young (6-3) lost for the first time in six starts and had a season-low five strikeouts.

<p class="p3">“(Young) has been really good all year long,” Tharp said. “It was a big game and he knows a lot of those guys over there. 

<p class="p3">“Vinton and DeQuincy are big rivals. I think he just put a little too much pressure on himself and tried to overthrow a little bit. He is fine and he is a great pitcher. I told him he got us here and we are going to try to make a long run in the playoffs and he is going to be a part of that.”

<p class="p3">The loss ended a 10-game win streak for the Lions, who are ranked seventh in the most recent Class 2A power rankings. They will look to start a new streak next week when the state playoffs start.

<p class="p3">“We are going to use it (the loss),” Tharp said. “We are going to start another streak. 

<p class="p3">“The 10-game streak was fun, now we get to start a new one.”

<p class="p3">DeQuincy starting pitcher Jared Paul Wilkins and reliever Owen Tyler combined to hold the Lions to four runs on six hits and each had to get out of a bases-loaded jam. 

<p class="p3">In the top of the first, Wilkins walked Traven Robinson to load the bases with two outs but got a strikeout to end the threat.

<p class="p3">The Tigers elected to intentionally walk Young in the bottom of the third inning to load the bases with two outs and Tyler got a ground out to get out of the jam.

<p class="p3">“The first guy (Wilkins) has been solid all year, but didn’t have his best stuff and battled threw it,” Carlson said. “He has been a little sick lately but got us out of a few jams. (Tyler) came in and did a great job as well.”

<p class="p3">Vinton cut DeQuincy’s lead to 4-2 on Logan Smudricks’ RBI single in the third inning, but the Tigers scored two in the top of the fifth with the help of two Vinton errors and Luke Miller’s RBI single.

<p class="p3">Vinton tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh. Blaine Manucy and Robinson hit back-to-back RBI sacrifice flies, but Tyler ended the game with a strikeout.

<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>DeQuincy </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>6, </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>Vinton </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>4</strong></span>

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