SOUTH PARIS – Oxford Hills starter Ben Goodall had reason to feel uncomfortable on the mound Wednesday. It was his first start on the Gouin Athletic Complex hill, and the righty was having trouble finding a good landing spot for his right foot. Then there was the stiff wind blowing in that wasn’t exactly helping his balance, either.

Those factors added up to some wildness for Goodall (six walks, one hit batter), yet he still limited the damage when he needed to and kept the Vikings perfect on the young KVAC season with a 7-1 decision over Cony Wednesday.

Goodall allowed just two hits in five innings of work, then gave way to Mark Henderson, who hurled two innings of perfect relief.

“That’s not his best stuff. He was behind in all the counts, but we’ve had four games in a row and we needed him to get as deep as he could,” Vikings coach Shane Slicer said. “He wanted to go another (inning) but his pitch count was up, and Henderson came in and pitched very well.”

“Usually, if I hit my spots and keep the ball down, it’s tougher for the batters to hit. My control was a little bit off, especially early in the game. I was having trouble with my landing foot and the dirt.”

Chris Roy led Oxford Hills’ offense by going 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Ethan Sutton reached base three times, drove in a pair and stole three bases.

“We talked about just having a line-drive swing today because of the wind. Some of our guys couldn’t adjust to that because we had too many fly balls, but Roy stung the ball right on a line.” Slicer said.

Roy stroked an RBI double off Cony starter Joey Record in the second to put Oxford Hills in front. He drove in the second run with a single in the third.

“I just picked a first-pitch fastball and hit it as best I could,” he said.

Roy’s single triggered a six-run third that broke the game open. Ryan Yates followed him with a fly ball to center that danced in the wind and ultimately eluded the centerfielder to drive in Justin Frechette and make it 3-0. Dillon Trundy made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly, then an infield single and throwing error brought Roy around. Sutton followed with a two-run single up the middle.

The 7-0 cushion allowed Goodall to relax despite a shaky start to the fourth. After stranding runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, the Rams (4-2) finally made Goodall pay for loading the bases with nobody out on a single and two walks. But a ground-out to short that scored Charlie Patridge was all they could muster for a comeback.

With a young nucleus, the Vikings were thought by many KVAC observers to be a year away from serious contention. But they’re 5-0 now, with a deep lineup and a pitching staff that has developed some of the best depth in the league. That should serve them well in a cramped revised schedule caused by the early-season rain-outs.

“We’ve been playing good ball,” Slicer said. “I think our defense is playing much, much better. I think our pitching staff was ready to go (from the start). What we need to do is get more consistent in scoring runs. We’re scoring enough runs, no question. But we’ve also had some opportunities where we could put some teams away but we’re leaving guys on base.”

“We approach every game the same way,” Roy said. “We don’t underestimate anybody. We just go after it like it’s the last game of the season.”


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