Hammond, Ind. - June 17, 2021 - The Southland Vikings (4-9) entered Thursday's matchup against the Crestwood Panthers (8-7) in an offensive slump and a three game losing streak. The Vikings went down by five early, came back to take the lead, but eventually fell to the Panthers 12-11.
The Panthers struck first in the first inning with two runs, taking an early 2-0 lead.
The Vikings came right back in the bottom of the first with a lead-off single from Nick McAllister (Erskine College / Homewood, Ill.). Consecutive walks from Luke Sefcik (Central Michigan / Palos Heights, Ill.) and Logan Anderson (South Suburban / Frankfort, Ill.). Patrick Doran (North Carolina Central / Evergreen Park, Ill.) lined a two RBI single to right field, scoring McAllsiter and Sefcik, tying the game at 2-2. Marc Babicz (Lake Land / Stickney, Ill.) doubled down the left field line scoring Anderson, Doran was thrown out at home on the play, having Anderson only score, Vikings taking a 3-2 lead. Mason Schaller (Morton College / McHenry, Ill.) grounded to shortstop, due to the errant throw, Schaller was safe and Babicz scored, extending the lead to 4-2.
The Panthers scored seven runs in the next two innings, six in the second and one in the third. Using a combination of walks and singles to plate the base runners, 9-4.
In the fourth, the Vikings chipped at the deficit, with a double from McAllister, consecutive singles from Sefcik and Anderson, loading the bases with one out. Doran grounded out to the first baseman, scoring McAllister, 9-5.
The bats continued for the Vikings in the sixth, singles from Schaller and Ethan Imlach (Purdue Northwest / Mokena, Ill.), putting runners on the corners with one out. Jaden Lee (Undecided / Monee, Ill.) batting, Schaller scored on a passed ball, Imlach advancing to third, 9-6. Lee drew a walk three pitches later. On the at-bat of McAllister, Imlach scored on a wild pitch, adding one more to the total, 9-7. Back-to-back walks from Sefick and Anderson loaded the bases with two outs. Doran ripped a two RBI single down the right field line, scoring Lee and Sefick, tying the game 9-9. Babicz lined an RBI single to left field, scoring Anderson, Vikings taking a 10-9 lead.
Joe Rycerz (St. Xavier / Schererville, Ind.) came in for relief in the fifth inning. Kept things in check until the seventh inning as the Panthers scored two to retake the lead in the seventh, 11-10.
The back and forth game continued it’s theme in the bottom of the seventh as the Vikings came right back with their own run to tie the game. Lead-off walk from McAllister, McAllister stole second and third base. Doran continued his hot day at the plate with an RBI single to right field for his sixth RBI of the game, bringing his total to a team high 14 RBIs, tying the game at 11-11.
Crestwood responded once again in the eighth inning with another go-ahead run, 12-11.
The Vikings offense would be silent in the final two innings, falling to the Panthers 12-11. In a game that provided 30 hits, 23 runs, eight stolen bases, one of the best games in the MCL this year has had to offer.
“That was a fun game out there today,” Vikings Assistant Manager Ryan Gyrion said. “The offense stepped up and swung the bats well after a couple rough games. Rycerz came in and did a good job for us by keeping this game close to where we came back in the later innings.”
The Vikings next game is Friday, June 18 against the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. First pitch is slated at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium, located in Whiting, Ind. The game will be broadcast on JED TV and AM 1230 WJOB with Brandon Vickrey and Leo Staudacher on the call for the game.