Hammond, Ind. - June 18, 2021 - The Southland Vikings (4-10) visited Oil City Stadium to face their arch rivals Northwest Indiana Oilmen (8-4) on Friday night. What seemed to be all Oilmen in the early going, the Vikings came back down from six, took the lead late, the Oilmen wouldn’t go away and beat the Vikings 8-7 in a classic.
The Oilmen jumped on the Vikings from the start, scoring three runs in the second inning and three runs in the fourth inning taking a 6-0 lead after four.
The Vikings doing what they’ve done all year, chipping at the deficit and starting a comeback, began in the fifth inning. Lead-off walk from Darrius Little (Morton College / Chicago, Ill.). Little stole second, while advancing to third from a Nick McAllister (Erskine College / Homewood, Ill.) single to left field. Little scored on a wild pitch in the next at-bat, giving the Vikings their first run of the game, 6-1.
After scoreless innings from the Oilmen, the Vikings in the seventh chipped more into the deficit. Lead-off single from Little, McAllister ripped a ball over the centerfielder's head, an RBI stand up triple, giving the Vikings their second run of the game, 6-2. Anthony Lenza (Benedictine / Orland Hills, Ill.) grounded out to the pitcher, McAllister advanced home on the play, plating on more run in the inning, 6-3.
Vikings didn’t go anywhere in the eighth, three consecutive single by Jon Crowell (Flagler / Highland, Ill.), Joe Rycerz (St. Xavier / Schererville, Ind.) and Dashon Moore (Georgetown / Chicago, Ill.), Moore’s single drove in Crowell and Rycerz, cutting the deficit, 6-5. Back to back walks from Little and Dylan Engel (Illinois Wesleyan / Chicago, Ill.) loaded the bases with one out. McAllister lined a sac-fly to right field, scoring Moore, tying the game 6-6. On the errant throw from the right fielder to home, Little scored, giving the Vikings their first lead of the game, 7-6.
Nolan Vlcek (Marshalltown CC / Lockport, Ill.) came in relief in the fifth inning and kept the Vikings in the game. Vlcek only saw trouble in the eighth inning as he gave up the tying and go-ahead run, having the Oilmen take a 8-7 lead after eight innings. Vlcek finished the day at four innings, four hits, two runs, and nine strikeouts.
Only three outs to work with, Logan Anderson (South Suburban / Frankfort, Ill.) started the inning with a hit-by-pitch. Anderson advanced to second and third on passed balls. On a Crowell grounder to the shortstop, Anderson was thrown out at home, advancing on the contact, as the Vikings comeback was spoiled by the Oilmen, 8-7.
“We’re getting there as a team, we’re very close,” Vikings Manager Rocco Mossuto said. “We’re on the verge of a win streak and we’re right there for that to happen.”
The Vikings next game is Saturday, June 19 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 Jack Theil on the call for the game.