Kinston wins first baseball game since 2017
Kinston baseball coach Ryan Buie, center, guides players through drills during Monday’s practice. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
Kinston wants to prove itself on the baseball diamond in 2019.
Coming into Friday’s game against South Creek, the Vikings hadn’t won in 23 contests. The last victory came against Goldsboro 8-4 on April 26, 2017 and before its road match against the Cougars, Kinston hadn’t scored in its first two contests.
Despite falling to South Creek 14-0 three days prior, Kinston showcased its resolve with a 7-3 victory, giving the team great momentum heading into Tuesday’s game against South Lenoir. Vikings coach Ryan Buie said the team settled down and handled the fundamentals well.
“We started doing a lot of the little things better — hitting with two strikes, limiting our bad throws and errors,” Buie said. “We only had one in the game against South Creek and Kieren (Hooker) threw a great game: one earned run and seven strikeouts, only giving up five hits.”
Kinston scored a pair of runs in the fourth inning, then scored five in the sixth with the score tied at 2. The Vikings showed patience at the plate, coaxing nine walks from South Creek pitchers.
“It felt good to get that win,” Kinston’s Cortez White said. “We had good energy, everyone had their heads on straight and as the game went on it got better.”
The interest in the sport has spiked this season at Kinston High. The Vikings fielded a JV team for the first time in four seasons and 14 freshmen showed up for tryouts. The Vikings also have a solid set of veterans, including Tobias Hatch, who has played for the team all four seasons.
“We’ve seen a lot of guys come out and play for the team this year,” Hatch said. “We didn’t have a JV team in the past, so it’s looking like baseball is getting more popular here.”
Buie said the mindset as also played a strong role and he believes the trend will continue.
“This is a more cohesive group and they get along well,” Buie said. “Any arguments are done more as brothers than enemies, and they’ve focused on playing a well-rounded game.”
The Vikings host the Blue Devils at 4 p.m. for JV baseball and 7 p.m. for varsity.