Pitching Helps Vikings Blank Generals

By: Jack Theil

Hammond, Ind. - July 15, 2020 - The Vikings (9-3) saw their undefeated season come to an end Friday against the Joliet General (2-7). Generals came into Dowling Park on Wednesday trying to repeat that performance and knocking off the Vikings for the second straight game. The Vikings did not let that performance repeat itself as it’d be a close game throughout but the Vikings would win 3-0. 

PJ Raines (Sacramento City/Mokena, Ill.) got things started for the Vikings, Rains lined a ball up the middle recording a single. Raines stole second and third, setting himself up to score the first run. Anthony Rios (Lewis/Lemont, Ill.) got the job done by flying out to right field scoring Raines to make it 1-0 Vikings.

Justin Supergan (Prairie State/Valparaiso, Ind.) got the start today for the Vikings making quick work through the Generals lineup. Supergan went two innings, only giving up one hit, and striking out one.

Jacob Kampf (Heartland/Lockport, Ill.) came in for relief in the top of the third and was unstoppable. Kampf kept the Generals lineup guessing at the plate which resulted in nine strikeouts in four innings of work, only one hit allowed and also received the win.

“Came in today and had no idea I was going to throw, I found out five minutes before the game that I’d become relieved,” Kampf said. “I only threw eleven pitches yesterday so I knew that I was ready to go for some more work. It means a lot knowing I’m a rookie and it’s huge that he has that trust in me that I can go out there well.”

As Kempf continued his dominance on the mound, the Vikings added another run in the bottom of the fourth after an error on the throw. Jake Schroeder (Northern Illinois/Flossmoor, Ill) scored on a throwing error extending the lead to 2-0 Vikings.

At the bottom of the fifth, Billy Curtis (North Central/Lockport, Ill) reached on an error and Stephen Insely (Moraine Valley/Chicago, Ill.) singled putting runners on third and first with nobody out. Raines grounded into a double play scoring Curtis making the game 3-0 Vikings.

“You look at the seventh and eighth inning we had first and second with nobody out, you have scratch and at least score one,” Vikings manager Dave Letourneau said. “We’re lucky it didn’t come back to hurt us, our pitching was that good to where we only needed one. So you can chalk the win to the pitching staff today.”

Joseph Tor (South Suburban/Lockport, Ill.) continued his hot start to the season as he shut the Generals down in two innings of work. Tor who hasn’t given up a run in the year so far would keep that stat true. He only gave up one hit and struck out two keeping the Generals blank on the scoreboard.

Letourneau to end the game brought in Mike Tobin (Concordia/Palos Hills, Ill.) to record his fourth save of the year in four save opportunities. Tobin gave a leadoff double but that would be all. Tobin striking out two and popping out a batter would end the game record his fourth save handing the Vikings their ninth win of the season. 

“You don’t have to put so much pressure on your starting staff, because now you don’t need your starter to go five or six innings,” Letourneau said. “The bullpen is just there for six through nine not having the starters have pressure which helps. The bullpen has done its job throughout the year and continues to do so.”

The Vikings look to continue their win streak on Thursday, July 16 as they host the MCL Minutemen. The game will take place at Dowling Park in Hammond, Ind. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. and you can watch the game on the Southland Vikings Facebook page via Facebook Live. Jack Theil alongside Ryan Zimmerman will have the call for the game.


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