Lansing, Ill. - July 5, 2020 - The Vikings found themselves in a barn burner on Sunday afternoon after a seven inning win on Saturday. The Vikings and Panthers would go toe to toe as it would be tied or a run one game for seven innings total. After relying on the offense the day before the pitching would help the Vikings defeat the Panthers 4-2.
Ryan Manikowski (Creighton / New Lenox, Ill.) would get the bump and make his MCL debut. Manikowski’s 2020 senior season would be canceled due to COVID-19, which left a chip on his shoulder.
“I was hoping for my senior season to bounce back, it made me train even harder,” Manikowski said. “Just focus on the mechanics pitching for contact and that’s what you probably saw today, getting those easy outs.”
Manikowski would see himself get into situations on the mound. He dealt with a runner on third in the bottom of the second, runners on third and second with two outs in the bottom of the third.
“I was a two sport athlete, I’ve been through a lot of pressure in the past and a lot of situations,” Manikowski said. “I like to feel composed on the mound and I’m always thinking one step ahead when I’m out there.”
Manikowski would see himself go five innings and give up two runs (one earned), along with collecting five strikeouts and zero walks in his MCL debut for the Vikings.
The Vikings offense would strike at the right time, the top of the fourth the Vikings were able to take the lead. A sacrifice fly by Anthony Rios (Lewis/Lemont, Ill.) would score Luke Napleton (Quincy/La Grange, Ill.) to make the score 1-0.
Justin Rios (North Central/Lemont, Ill.), would add an insurance run for the Vikings with a single in the top of the fifth to make the game 3-1.
The bullpen would become the key part in the Viking’s victory as they halted the Panthers to zero runs. Jacob Goss (Illinois Springfield/Plainfield, Ill.), Joseph Tor (South Suburban/Lockport, Ill.), Mike Tobin (Concordia/Palos Hills, Ill.) and Anthony Rogers (Concordia/Lombard, Ill.) combined for four innings, zero runs, and two hits. Helping the Vikings keep the lead.
“Yesterday’s plan was my plan for today, outstanding job from Manikowski, I was able to go to my top four guys who will be key for situations like that,” Vikings manager Dave Letourneau said. “They shut it down for four innings and you can’t ask for anymore than that.”
A crucial part for the Vikings came in the top of the eighth as the Vikings would be able to score an insurance run from the speed of Dane Thomas (Wright State/Chicago, Ill.). Thomas was able to beat the throw to second which led to a run scoring.
“I love his speed, I think for a tight game you use someone like that,” Dave Letourneau said. “That's such a baseball play, I love to see that from him, that’s all hustle and you can’t teach that. That was a great baseball play by a great baseball player.”
The Vikings will begin their home season campaign on Monday, July 6 against the MCL Minutemen. The game will take place at Dowling Park, home of Purdue Northwest baseball which is located in Hammond, Ind. First pitch is scheduled for 5 P.M., Jack Theil alongside Ryan Zimmerman will have the call. You can find the game on the Southland Vikings Facebook page.