SPRINGFIELD–Following a woeful season in which the Evangel baseball team went 10-and-22 in conference play, the Valor were picked to finish second-to-last in the preseason coaches poll. And at 2-4 in league play this spring, so far, the critics are on track.

But that's why you play the game, even on blustery days like Monday. 

Evangel hosting conference foe, Missouri Valley in a double header. 

Fun fact, the Vikings were picked to finish one spot better than the Valor.

Maybe that was all the motivation for Wyatt Kepler because the Neosho product was dealing on the hill.
Top of the 1st, Kepler struck out a pair. Leaving a man stranded at 2nd to set the tone early.

Home half of the inning, offense helping defense. Carson Sturdefant punches this fastball to left. Jeremy Vickers comes in from second. Valor jump in front 1-0.

Johannes Kepler is famous for his laws of planetary motion dating back to the 17th century, well these two Keplers must be related because Wyatt gives a lesson on spin rate as he struck out 9 of the 16 batters he faced.

Top 3, Vikings threatening with runners on first and third with 2 out. They try the old double steal, but the Valor aren't fooled. Holton Simmons guns down Kyle weber at the plate to end the frame and preserve the shutout.

Bottom 4, Eli Cook does just that. Lifts one to center, and there's no bringing that ball back. His second homer of the season is a 2-run shot. 

Valor blank the Vikings 8-0. But lose 3-2 in the second game.