Puyallup Vikings slugger Zach Needham said he was looking for a fast ball after stepping into the batters box in the bottom of the seventh inning with his team tied 0-0 against the Graham-Kapowsin Eagles.
Needham, the first batter of the inning, got the pitch he was looking for and connected on a solo walk-off home run to left field, lifting Puyallup (13-0) to a dramatic 1-0 victory against Graham-Kapowsin on April 16 at Heritage Park in Puyallup.
“It was a fast ball middle in. I just made perfect contact and I knew I hit it well. It was just surreal,” Needham said.
Vikings head coach Marc Wiese said Needham made up for a missed opportunity earlier in the game. The Vikings had the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth but couldn’t put any runs up due to the savvy pitching of Eagles left-hander CJ Blowers.
“I’m proud of Zach for clutching up. We always talk about creating a memory that you will remember for the rest of your life. Zach Needham did that today. He will remember it, I will remember it and his teammates will remember it, too,” Wiese said with a smile.
The game was a pitching duel between Blowers and Vikings starter Luke Heimlich. Heimlich surrendered just one hit in seven innings to get the victory while Blowers allowed a mere five hits and one run in the loss.
“Heimlich has been throwing great for us all year. He always is as good as it gets and he shoved tonight. He really did a great job,” Needham said.
Wiese was glad his team had a game where the outcome of the contest was in doubt late. The majority of the Vikings games preceding its contest against Graham-Kapowsin were blowout victories.
“We need to play in those kind of games, no question about it,” Wiese said. “Those are the moments that are going to make us better. We need to see players like CJ Blowers on the mound. He is going to be a good one. I knew coming into this game we were going to have to scrap out a few runs. We had Luke on the mound and felt pretty good about it. Luke was really good tonight for us.”