Written by Ken Karson
Vikings open season with tournament title
Deserts are easily found in Arizona, but St. Laurence baseball players viewed that southwestern state as more of an oasis last week.
The reason why is easy to understand: Arizona presented the Vikings with a satisfying alternative to the below-normal temperatures and soggy diamonds that have plagued this area and gave them a chance to enjoy ideal baseball conditions. While spring-break getaways have been standard practice for St. Laurence in recent seasons, a journey in this particular direction was a first for it.
And, if coach Pete Lotus has anything to say about the situation, it won’t be the last trip to that destination for the Vikings. Not only did they get in every game — something that didn’t happen a year ago in Florida due to rain — but they also triumphed each time out.
St. Laurence beat five opponents in a span of four days, a string of conquests that culminated with a tournament championship-clinching 7-4 victory over Ralston Valley (Colo.) on Friday.
“I think it’s definitely big,” Lotus said of his club’s 5-0 start to the 2014 campaign. “To be able to have success against teams that are used to playing in good weather and had already played some games was huge. We knew these first two weeks [of the schedule] were going to be tough, but hopefully this was a great stepping-stone.”
Seeing as how the Vikings had no on-field practice time prior to departing for Arizona, Lotus’ main goal for his athletes was to simply have them stay competitive against foes he knew would be formidable. And he wasn’t only thinking about his projected regulars.