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Vikings lose in heartbreaker despite Gothard’s strong effort

Jim Walker

WATERFORD — Sometimes good deeds go unrewarded. The same can be said for good pitching performances.
Layken Gothard turned in an outstanding pitching effort but the Waterford Wildcats got a run in the ninth inning to slip past the Symmes Valley Vikings 5-4 in the Division IV sectional finals.
Noah Huffman doubled leading off the ninth and scored the winning run when Zane Heiss put down a sacrifice bunt and the throw skipped past first base and down the right field line.
Gothard struck out 14 in seven innings before giving way to Nick Klaiber. He allowed just four hits and four walks, one intentional.
“He’s a player. When the weather heated up, he did, too. He’s a competitor. That’s one of the best performances I’ve had out of a pitcher,” said Vikings’ coach Chad Renfroe.
“Our kids played hard. They never gave up. Our kids stepped up to the challenge. It was just a couple of mistakes or we win the game.”
The Vikings took a 1-0 in the first inning.
Gothard was hit by a pitch, Derik Brace walked, and a throwing error scored the run.
Waterford tied the game in the second when Bryce Hilverding walked, stole second and scored on a hit by Andrew Harra-Baker.
The Vikings went up 2-1 in the fourth on a double by Devin Renfroe, a walk to Keifer Wilson, Gothard was safe on an error, Brace reached on a missed third strike for a run and the final run scored on a balk.
The Wildcats came back to score three runs in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead.
Peyten Stevens walked, Huffman reached on an error and a passed ball got too far away to retrieve in time as both runners scored. Bellville walked and later scored on a single by Hilverding.
The Vikings tied the game with a run in the sixth when Renfroe walked, Wilson singled, and Gothard and Klaiber walked to force in the run.
Waterford will play Green on Tuesday in the district semifinals.
Sym. Valley 100 201 000 = 4 4 5
Waterford 010 030 001 = 5 5 3
Layken Gothard, Nick Klaiber (8) and Derik Brace. Braden Bellville, Isaac Wagner (6), Noah Huffman (9) and Austin Pyatt. W-Huffman. L-Klaiber (IP-2.0, H-1, K-3, BB-1). Gothard (IP-7.0, K-14, BB-4, IBB-1). Hitting-SV: Layken Gothard 1-3, Devin Renfroe 1-3 2B, Carpenter 1-4 Keifer Wilson 1-3; WHS: Noah Huffman 2-4, Braden Bellville 1-4, Bryce Hilverding 1-3, Young 1-3.