By: Will Trubshaw
Lemont, Ill. – Aug. 3, 2019 – There’s no time to pick up your first win of the season quite like the second to last game of the year. That’s exactly what Jaime Prieto (Kishwaukee College/Chicago, Ill.) was able to do in shutout fashion over the DuPage County Hounds.
Prieto made his first start since July 11th on Saturday and nearly went the distance, settling instead for 8 innings of shutout ball, while his teammates got a half dozen runs on the way to the Vikings 25th win of the season.
With the bullpen getting the weekend off to rest for the playoffs, manager Dave Letourneau was counting on a long performance, but not necessarily one as good as Prieto delivered.
“We needed a long outing from him, and he was able to go eight strong. Just a little over 100 pitches which I think is just outstanding. In the spot that we were in, you can’t ask for anything better than that,” said Letourneau.
It took until the fourth inning for the Vikings to finally break through on offense, but when they did it came in a flurry. Anthony Rios (Lewis University/Lemont, Ill.) scored on a Logan Anderson (South Suburban/Chicago, Ill.) double, and Anderson then scored on a Joe Curci (RPI/Chicago, Ill.) single to make it 2-0. Then in the fifth, the Vikings doubled their lead thanks to a two-out, two-strike double off the bat of Jake Schroeder.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Prieto and the Vikings faced their biggest challenge of the game. With one out the Hounds were able to load the bases for their right fielder Nick Zeeveld. Prieto however was able to induce a groundball off the right handed power hitter that Dashon Moore (U of I Springfield/South Holland, Ill.) fielded swiftly and in one motion turned an inning ending double play.
Later on, in the top half of the seventh Rios ripped a single that scored two more insurance runs and extend the Vikings lead to 6-0.
After two more scoreless innings from Prieto, the Vikings turned to a position player once again to get the games final outs. Curci came in to pitch for the first time this year and induced three fly balls to work around an error and finish off the Hounds in relatively short order.
For the day, Vikings pitching stranded 10 Hounds on the bases while scattering seven hits.
The stellar pitching and timely hitting of the Vikings once again helped them keep pace with the Bloomington Bobcats. Just a half game out, the final day of the season will matter as the 1 and 2 seeds are on the line heading to the postseason.
If the Vikings win Sunday and the Bobcats lose, the Vikings would win the regular season title and claim the No.1 seed for the playoffs. Should they lose and the Bobcats win, or should both teams win/lose, the Bobcats would hold on to the regular season title.
For now, all the Vikings can control is their matchup Sunday with the Joliet Generals. The Vikings will look for their fourth straight win, and third over the Generals to wrap up the season. The game has been moved up to a noon start and will still be played at Joliet Junior College. Will Trubshaw will join Sam Oppenheim on the Joliet Generals Broadcast Network for the broadcast.
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