Hammond, Ind. - July 8, 2020 - The Vikings had a familiar opponent come to Dowling Park Wednesday, July 8. The last time the Vikings and Oilmen faced off, the Oilmen ended the Vikings season in the MCL playoffs. A game circled on the Vikings calendar proved to be a momentum booster for the Vikings. The Vikings would take advantage of opportunities and come out with a victory over the Oilmen 9-4.
The Vikings would find themselves early on the board with a 1-0 lead after the first inning. It wasn’t long until the Oilmen would put up three runs in the top of the third and take the lead 3-1.
The Vikings would see themselves down 4-2 after the fifth inning wondering if their undefeated season would come to an end. Vikings manager Dave Letourneau would signal to his standout bullpen and call for Joseph Tor (South Suburban/Lockport, Ill.) to keep the Oilmen from scoring.
“Joe Tor, that guy will come out pound the zone and get double plays for us, he’s huge for us,” Vikings manager Dave Letourneau said.
The bottom of the seventh, the Vikings would take every opportunity given. After two straight singles by Dane Thomas (Wright State/Chicago, Ill.) and Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois/Homewood, Ill.) and an error on the field. Thomas would score and make the game 4-3 cutting the deficit to one.
Anthony Rios (Lewis/Lemont, Ill.) stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and delivered. Rios hit a rocket to left field almost clearing the wall for a bases clearing triple to make the game 6-4 Vikings.
“Just believe in my approach, look for the fastball and adjust from there and see my pitch, I got some elevated pitches and was able to hit them,” Rios said. “I was just trying to do my job, guy on third less than two outs I’m trying to put something in play. I believe in my approach and was able to put something in left field to help our team.”
The Vikings seventh inning wouldn’t be done just yet. Jake Schroeder (Northern Illinois, Flossmoor, Ill.) would hit a sac fly to make the game 7-4 Vikings. After that, the Vikings drew three walks. Logan Anderson (South Suburban/Frankfort, Ill.) was able to score on a passed ball and PJ Raines (Sacramento City/Mokena, Ill.) scored on an error to complete the seven run seventh inning to make the ball game 9-4 Vikings.
The game was in the bullpens hands now for the Vikings. Dave Letourneau would send Nathan Jendraszkiewicz (Lakeland/Oswego, Ill.), Jake Karaba (Lewis/Naperville, Ill.), Justin Supergan (Prairie State/Valparaiso, Ind.), and Mike Tobin (Concordia/Palos Hills, Ill.) to keep the lead and help the Vikings win a fifth straight. The bullpen would shut down the Oilmen. The bullpen as a whole went four innings, five hits, two strikeouts, and zero earned runs. The bullpen would help the Vikings keep the lead and win the game 9-4.
“I wanted to give our lefty work with their lefty coming up, he was able to get an out,” Vikings manager Dave Letourneau said. “Karaba came in and struck the two batters he faced out. Going into the ninth, I wanted to give Supergan some work, and Tobin is my automatic and he’s been my automatic for two years and I never hesitate going to him.”
The Vikings next game will be home Thursday, July 9, as they face the (1-4) Crestwood Panthers. The game will take place at Dowling Park, which is located in Hammond, Ind. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 P.M. and you can watch the game on the Southland Vikings Facebook page via Facebook Live. Jack Theil alongside Jon Zaghloul will have the call for the game.