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Published: May 29, 2009 11:21 pm      

HS BASEBALL: Vikings double up on Lake Shore

By Doug Smith
Niagara Gazette

GRAND ISLAND — Every time Grand Island faltered Friday, Ben Tomkins led a steadying hand as the Vikings pillaged Lake Shore 10-5 in a Class A quarterfinal on Masters Field.

Combined with Thursday’s 8-0 whitewash of Pioneer, it gave the Vikings 18 runs in 12 innings after a week off.

“We needed that,” said Coach Dean Santorio. “We can be streaky.”

The streak got downright perilous in Friday’s fourth inning when pitcher Tomkins’ defense almost left him high and dry with a 9-0 lead. After two two-out Lake Shore hits, Grand Island committed three infield errors and Jim Evancho’s two-run single made it a workingman’s game, 9-5.

Tomkins bulled his neck and struck out Lake Shore’s fifth batter, his second (and last) K of the day. He started the fifth by seizing two comebackers.

“That’s Ben,” Santorio said. “He’s very steady, keeps the ball down in the zone. He might have gotten a little tired (issuing his only two walks) in the sixth, but he’d never admit that and I’m leaving him in there. He’s got my confidence.”

Lake Shore had nine hits, but only one over the last three innings. Viking leftfielder Marv Pawlowski made a long running catch to his left in the seventh.

Tomkins delivered a two-run double in Grand Island’s four-run second. A bases-loaded walk and Chris Moody’s RBI single had helped GI to a three-spot in the first. Nick Kellner’s two stolen bases and Joe Oliverio’s RBI single keyed two more runs in the third. Kellner doubled in the fifth, stole third and scored on a wild pitch. Eight of Grand Island’s starters hit safely, and in 14 playoff innings, Viking pitchers have not yielded an earned run.

GI will travel to second-seeded Cheektowaga for Monday’s semifinal showdown.