GARY | Munster was playing its seventh baseball game in eight days and Valparaiso was playing its first of the season.
The Vikings jumped out like the more-seasoned team, with five runs in the first inning of an 11-5 win over the Mustangs on Friday at the RailCats High School Challenge.
"We wanted to come out here and show a lot of confidence," said Valpo senior Alex Bales, who went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run. "We've got a lot of seniors on the team and we've shown a lot of leadership already. We just have a lot of confidence as a team."
Valparaiso took the first-inning lead thanks to two of Munster's four errors in the game. The Vikings had scored three runs before the Mustangs recorded their first out as Valparaiso batted around and sent 10 hitters to the plate in the inning.
Valpo picked up 10 hits, scattered around the lineup card from hitters one through nine.
"Led by Bales ... we expect a lot of that senior group," Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle said. "He did a nice job, and they all did a lot tonight."
Munster (4-3) opened the game with a two-out 1-0 lead as Joe Jumonville scored on a sac fly.
After Valparaiso came close to an early end to the game with an 8-1 lead after three innings, Munster picked up its first hit in the fourth inning and scored twice, then added another run in the fifth on an error. Valparaiso committed three errors overall.
The Mustangs chipped in a final run in the seventh, trying to battle back from the early deficit.
Already this week, Munster had split with DAC teams, losing to Lake Central in nine innings on Tuesday, then beating Crown Point on Thursday.
"It's been a long week, I do like getting all those games in, especially the teams that we played and it gets tougher," Munster coach Bob Shinkan said. "I like what I see with this ball club. Barring today's game, when we take Lake Central to nine innings and beat Crown Point and the record that we're at right now, I'm happy where we're at and I know what we need to work on and the team knows what we need to work on. Our preseason's over, because this week we had the conference bye, so now next week we start the conference season against Hobart. What we can say is that our regular season begins next week."