Vikings get in the swing at SureWest tournament

Oakmont’s Kuresa unleashes power on Broncos
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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The worst possible news for Sierra Foothill League baseball foes of Oakmont High may be the timing of spring break. Playing in the annual holiday week tournament that is now sponsored by SureWest, Oakmont’s Tyler Kuresa seems to have found his power stroke. After a few tough at-bats during the SFL opening series against Woodcreek, the Vikings’ first baseman is seeing the ball well right now. “That 3-0 pitch was just hanging right there,” Kuresa said after a three-hit performance Monday morning against Bella Vista. “My eyes got really big when I saw that pitch coming.” The pitch the University of Oregon-committed player was referring to came in his fourth trip to the plate against the Broncos. The senior had blasted home runs in his first two chances of the contest, and was walked semi-intentionally before taking three balls in his fourth try. The three-ball pitch was right down the center, and Kuresa whacked it into right field for a single that brought a sigh of relief in the Bella Vista dugout, as it could have been much worse. The game started poorly for the Broncos, who went down in order in their half of the first and then saw Brandon Vargas and Kuresa go back-to-back long ball to open Oakmont’s offensive day. Logan Appledoorn was pretty good on the bump for the Broncos, but he had no answers for Kuresa. He set down seven of the next eight hitters he saw, but then the first baseman launched another four-bagger. Three walks and an error helped doom the Bella Vista pitcher in the fifth, with a two-run double by Nick Hoffman pretty much ending his day. Cooper Mathews greeted the bullpen with a bases-clearing three-run double the broke the game wide open and put Oakmont up 9-0. After dominating Bella Vista for five frames, Oakmont ace right-hander Kory Groves ran out of gas in the sixth, with help from some sloppy defense, and the Broncos posted seven runs to make a game of it. The inning included four extra-base hits for Bella Vista. Groves struck out seven in the contest. A three-run triple by Jared Virtue in the bottom of the sixth helped the Vikings put the game on ice. Nick Hoffman had two hits in the game, and also had a big two-run single for Oakmont in the Vikings afternoon game 6-3 win over Union Mine. That win moved the Vikings to the third-place final that was scheduled to be played Tuesday afternoon against Vacaville, if the rain held off that long. Austin Seider had a big two-run pinch-hit single to give Oakmont the lead in the home half of the sixth in that game. Even in a 6-4 loss to Woodland that opened the tournament Saturday, the Vikings were swinging the bats well. “In all of our at-bats, we hit the ball hard,” said Oakmont coach Dean Perkins. “We are really good with the bats right now, but glove-wise it has not been as good. Against Woodland, we hit pills right at the heads of the right and center fielders and their shortstop saved them twice.” Oakmont (1-2 in the SFL, 6-3 overall) gets back to league play next Tuesday when Del Oro (1-2, 4-3-1) comes calling.