Whiting, Ind. - August 9, 2020 - The theme for Vikings (18-15) and Oilmen (21-11) games at Oil City Stadium have been walk offs by the Oilmen. The final game at Oil City Stadium for the Vikings, was their last chance to change their fortune. The Vikings used an early lead and pivotal pitching late in the game to secure their first win at Oil City Stadium of the year winning 6-3.
The Vikings started the inning off with a bang. Singles by Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois/Homewood, Ill.) and Bryan Broecker (Michigan State/Chicago, Ill.) set up a run opportunity for the Vikings. The left handed hitter Matt Monahan (St. Xavier/New Lenox, Ill.) lined a ball to left center clearing the wall for a three run home run, his first of the season and giving the Vikings an early 3-0 lead.
The Vikings offense kept the foot on the pedal in the third. Broecker singled to center field to lead the inning off. Monhan, who provided a three run home run in his previous at-bat, once again showed his power. He made great contact and hit another opposite field home run, a two run home run. Monahan in two at-bats had two home runs and five RBI’s extending the Viking lead to 5-0.
“Just trying to find my timing, I haven’t been playing much baseball since March so I thought it was important to get my timing right,” Monahan said. “Just keep your hands inside, I love going to left center, hitting the ball opposite field and that’s how you just square the ball up more. It’s fun to play baseball again and I’m just taking it all in, it’s just fun to be back in the game.”
Up 5-0, the Vikings added more of a cushion in the fourth inning. Dylan Robertson (Iowa Western/Downers Grove, Ill.) singled to third base with one out, recording his seventh hit in two games. Broecker singled up the middle to center field, due to the error by the center fielder, Robertson came around third and scored, helping the Vikings to a 6-0 lead.
Jacob Kampf (2-0) (Heartland/Lockport, Ill.) made his second start of the week and his second start against the NWI Oilmen. Throughout the game Kampf dominated on the mound. The fifth inning was the only trouble Kampf dealt with giving up three runs in the inning cutting the deficit to 6-3 but that’d be the only inning Kampf gave up runs. He finished the day at six innings, five hits, three earned runs, five strikeouts, lowered his ERA to 5.01 and recorded the win.
Chris Miller (Heartland/Plainfield, Ill.) came in for relief to keep the lead for the Vikings. Miller through the first two innings didn’t allow a hit and struck out two.
Heading to the ninth, there was a feeling in the stadium that the Oilmen like in the past three games between the two teams at Oil City Stadium could come back and win. Miller, still on the mound going for the three inning save. The Oilmen with two outs had runners on first and second as the tying run was at the plate. On a 2-0 count, Miller jammed the hitter and flew out to right field, recording his first save and helping the Vikings win 6-3.
“It felt great to have the lead when I came in, knowing I can trust my defense and if I got into any trouble I’d be fine,” Miller said. “Just to compete, I knew Hondras was a great hitter and I just had to fire strikes and hope he would get out. The biggest thing is the prep before the game, not knowing when your name’s going to be called you still have to be ready.”
The Vikings secured their second straight win and tied the season series with the Oilmen at 3-3.
“That’s a great win for the team, these guys played some of their best baseball,” Vikings manager Rocco Mossuto said. “Things have been rough here the past times we’ve played here and things went our way at the end.”
The Vikings return Monday, August 10 as they face the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. The game is at Dowling Park located in Hammond, Ind. and the first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. The broadcast will be available on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Facebook Page via Facebook Live. Brandon Vickrey, Andrew Fish, and Jack Theil will have the call for the game.