Vikings Offense Explodes in Victory

By: Jack Theil

Hammond, Ind. - June 5, 2021 - The Southland Vikings (2-2) suffered their first loss of the year to the Crestwood Panthers (4-3), looking to avenge that loss and get back to .500. The offense was anything but silent and a gem from the starting pitcher led to a 12-4 win.

 Dashon Moore (Georgetown College / Chicago, Ill.) and Anthony Lenza (Benedictine / Orland Hills, Ill.) led the first inning with consecutive walks. Moore and Lenza each advanced a base due to a wild pitch, setting up an Angelo Cantelo (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.) RBI single to centerfield scoring the first run of the game 1-0. Marc Babicz (LakeLand CC / Stickney, Ill.) endured a ball to the back, loading the bases. Joe Rycerz (St. Xavier / Schererville, Ind.) also recorded a hit by pitch, this time plating a run and extending the lead to 2-0. Nick Dombrowski (St. Xavier / Crestwood, Ill.) walked, scoring the third run of the inning, 3-0. 

 Jake Paymaster (Triton College / New Lenox, Ill.) started for the Vikings and dealt. Paymaster through three innings, shut down the Panthers offense and set the offense up to extend the lead.

 In the fourth inning, Moore reached on base via error, Lenza lined a single to right field, advancing Moore to third. Lenza stole second base, due to a throwing error by the catcher, Moore scored from third adding on to the lead, 4-0. Cantelo, who RBI earlier, would do the same after a single to center field, scoring Lenza, 5-0. Babicz continued the offense with an RBI double to left field, scoring Cantelo, 6-0.

 Paymaster ran into trouble in the fifth inning, allowing a two run home run, as the Panthers cut into the deficit 6-2. 

 Kyel Alexander (St. Ambrose / Burbank, Ill.) and Patrick Doran (North Carolina Central / Evergreen Park, Ill.) led off the sixth inning with walks. Cantelo grounded into a double play, scoring Alexander from third to extend the lead 7-2. 

 Paymaster entered the sixth for his final inning of work and ended it with style. Recording two strikeouts in the inning, ending his day at, six innings, four hits, four strikeouts, two runs, and received the win.

 “I was able to flip more sliders, get more strikes in there,” Paymaster said. “Just fill it up, throw strikes, don’t overthink it and throw my pitches. Those defensive plays shoot your confidence way up, being able to trust them.”

 The Panthers were able to score one in the seventh, cutting the deficit 7-3, hoping to comeback.

 Southland put to rest any comeback in the eighth inning. After a Moore lead-off single, Alexander hit-by-pitch, and Doran walk, the bases were loaded with no outs. Cantelo continued his impressive day with another RBI single, his third of the day, growing the lead 8-3. Shawn Rigsby  (St. Ambrose / Myrtle Creek, Ore.) opened the game with an RBI double, scoring Alexander and Doran extending it to 10-3. Zach Costello (St. Xavier / Seneca, Ill.) added to the lead with a sac-fly, 11-3.

 “Ups and downs, just trying to continue to hit the ball throughout the summer,” Cantelo said. “It’s just one of those days where the ball would just fall for a hit, sometimes things go your way and they don’t, today it was. Guys are getting more consistent and at-bats, hopefully it sets us up well this summer.”

 The Vikings continued to score in the ninth after a Moore triple and a Doran RBI single giving the Vikings a 12-4 lead. The Panthers plated one more and the ninth but that would be all, as the Vikings reached .500 and won 12-4. 

 “It was a great day to be great,” Vikings manager Rocco Mossuto said. “The bats were on point as well as the pitching, good for the team.”

 The Vikings next game is Sunday, June 6 against the Chicago American Giants. The game will take place at Gouwens Park located in South Holland, Ill. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m, Jack Theil will have the call for the game and you can view it on the Southland Vikings Facebook Page via Facebook Live.

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