Midlothian, Ill. - July 25, 2020 - Entering Saturday's matchup with the MCL Minutemen (5-14), Rocco Mossuto was named the new coach for the Southland Vikings (12-7). The offense exploded totalling 14 hits, three home runs, and 16 runs en route to a 16-4 win for Mossuto's first win as the Vikings manager.
The Vikings struck first with two runs in the second inning. Luke Napleton (Quincy/La Grange, Ill.) started the inning off with a lead off double. Jake Schroeder (Northern Illinois/Flossmoor, Ill.) followed with a walk putting runners on second and first one out. Jacob Kampf (Heartland/Lockport, Ill.) singled to left field scoring Napleton and advancing Schroeder to third, extending his RBI streak to three games and giving the Vikings a 1-0 lead. Kellen Quigley (Webster/Bolingbrook, Ill.) grounded out to the pitcher scoring Schroeder extending the lead to 2-0.
The bats continued in the third and fourth inning with solo shots by Chirs McDevitt (Indiana State/Chicago, Ill.) in the third inning and Schroeder with a home run in the fourth inning. The Minutemen were able to cut into the deficit in the third inning and tie the game at 3-3 with a three run home run of their own. Schroeder’s third home run of the year in the fourth would give the Vikings a 4-3 lead.
“Just making adjustments, moving my hands and allowing myself to get clean looks in the zone,” Schroeder said. “I’ve been getting jammed, so now I’ve been able to put the barrel on the ball. We were just relaxed, it’s been a weird week for us but we stayed relaxed and had fun out there.”
Ryan Manikowski (Creighton/New Lenox, Ill.) started for the Vikings and was excellent throughout the game. Manikowski’s only problem came in the third inning with giving up the home run but kept the Minutemen off balance at the plate and produced swing and misses. He went six innings, three runs, five hits, nine strikeouts, and received the win for his second win of the year.
“I just wanted to pound the zone, I had a great feel out there especially with my off speed pitches,” Manikowksi said, “The game tied up at that point, I had to go out there and just say it’s a 0-0 game and I had confidence in myself right after that. I just have to work on it and improve and come into everyday and not worry about my past performances and only the game I’m pitching.”
Leading 4-3 entering the seventh inning, the Vikings hit parade once again was on display. Daniel Barrios (St. Xavier/Peotone, Ill.) made his MCL/Vikings debut and drew a lead off walk. Dashon Moore (Illinois-Springfield/South Holland, Ill.) followed with a single to center field advancing Barrios to second base. Dylan Robertson (Iowa Western/Downers Grove, Ill.) provided a clutch double to center field scoring Barrios and Moore extending the lead to 6-3 Vikings. McDevitt continued the hitting spree with a single up the middle scoring Robertson adding one more run 7-3 Vikings. Napleton would add to his home run total to three with a two run home run making it 9-3 Vikings. Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois/Homewood, Ill.) and Schroeder drew consecutive walks, now runners on second and first no outs. Kampf added to his one RBI in today’s game with two more after a single to right field scoring McAlister and Schroeder adding to the Viking total 11-3. Quigley continued with a single, once again for the Vikings second and first no outs. Robertson, who already batted in the seventh inning, would get his second at bat of the inning and single to left field scoring two more runs for the Vikings adding nine to their seventh inning total and extending it to a 13-3 game.
“We had a new guy on the mound and hopefully gave a great impression to the new coach,” Robertson said. “Staying through the ball, I’m just trying to make great contact with the ball. You have to just thank the coaches for giving me the opportunity to bat high in the lineup.”
The Minutemen added one run in the seventh inning but the Vikings came back with more runs in the eighth inning. Walks by McAlister and Schroeder putting runners on second and first. Quigley lined a ball to third, it would be scored as an error but McAlister was able to score from second to give the Vikings a 14-4 lead. Barrios recorded his first RBI with a single to center field scoring Schroeder from second and Quigley advanced to third on the throw making it 15-4 Vikings. Moore was able to connect with the baseball far enough for Quigley to tag up and score, extending the lead to 12 runs, 16-4.
The Minutemen went one, two, three in the eighth inning having the 10 run rule come into play as the Vikings won their second straight game and the 12th win of the season.
“It’s difficult to come into the middle of the season when coaching changes happen and not everyones happy, so for me is to let the kids play and have them transition smoothly,” Mossuto said. “They swing well, Robertson, Kempf, all of them you can’t ask anything else from the team. Ryan on the hill gives us six quality innings, pumps the zone getting us off the field quickly. All of the kids played well today, that’s all you can ask for. You look at the roster and most of the kids are from the area and I’ve recruited some but it’s just nice being able to play baseball.”
The Vikings look to continue their win streak Sunday, July 26 against the DuPage County Hounds. The game will take place at Aurora Central Catholic High School located in Aurora, Ill. 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 Sam Oppenheim will be on the call for the game.