Vikings Drop Regular Season Finale To Oilmen, Shift Focus To Playoffs

By: Brandon Januska

Whiting, Ind. – August 3, 2023 – The 2023 Northern League regular season came to a close on Thursday night as the Southland Vikings fell to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen 18-6 at Oil City Stadium.

In an effort to keep their pitchers fresh for the playoffs, Southland opted to have two position players pitch with Charlie Schau and Colin Small each tossing four innings.

The Vikings finish the regular season in third place with a 26-24 record and now get to turn their attention to their first-round playoff matchup against the Oilmen.

The series is expected to be very competitive after the two teams split the season series 5-5. One advantage for the Oilmen is that they will have the entire series played at their home ballpark.

“A speedy team like us really benefits from playing at Dowling Park so that’s frustrating,” manager Sullivan Stickann said about the Vikings who were 3-0 against the Oilmen at Dowling Park this season.

Still, the Vikings have already proven that they can win at Oil City Stadium too, winning twice with Nolan Vlcek on the mound who is expected to start game one.

The Oilmen are a familiar postseason opponent for the Vikings, having gone head-to-head in five previous postseasons. The Oilmen knocked the Vikings out in the semifinals last season in a single elimination game and also had the upper hand in the semifinals in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

The Vikings last beat the Oilmen in the playoffs in 2013 when the teams met up in the finals.

Both the Vikings and Oilmen have won the Northern League title three times, which is tied for the most in league history.

The best of three semifinals series begins on Saturday at Oil City Stadium starting at 7:10pm. Game two will also be a 7:10pm start at Oil City Stadium on Sunday, but the Vikings will serve as the home team and bat second. Game three, if needed, will be on Monday and will also be a 7:10pm start at Oil City Stadium.

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