Vikings Bats Propel Past Giants

By: Jack Theil

Hammond, Ind. - June 20, 2021 - The Southland Vikings (5-10) entered Sunday's matchup on a five game losing streak and prepared to face the red hot Chicago American Giants (7-5). The Vikings jumped out of the gate and used early offense to defeat the Giants 12-8.

 First inning, the Vikings took an early lead after a lead-off walk from Darrius Little (Morton College / Chicago, Ill.). Little stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Luke Sefcik (Central Michigan / Chicago Heights, Ill.) lined a sac-fly to center field, scoring Little, 1-0. Jon Crowel (Flagler College / Highland, Ind.) drew a two out walk to keep the inning alive. Shawn Rigsby (St. Ambrose / Myrtle Creek, Ore.) barreled a no-doubt two run home run to right field, his first of the season, adding two runs to the lead, 3-0. 

 “It felt great to hit one out, I was selective at the plate coming in today since I had a couple days off but off the bat it felt nice,” Rigsby said. “Pitchers have been throwing outside pitches to me a lot this season, so that’s the reason why I lead the team in walks. This is a competitive league, I’m having a good time down here and it’s always good to get some reps. Hopefully this win builds the spark we need to string wins, nobody likes to be on a losing streak so this one felt good to win.

 Up 3-0, in the third the Vikings didn’t stop. A Crowel hit-by-pitch, Rigsby walk, and Tommy Carlson (Moraine Valley / Peotone, Ill.) hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with one out. Anthony Lenza (Benedictine / Orland Hills, Ill.) lined a two RBI single, scoring Crowel and Rigsby, 5-0. Lenza and Carlson advanced one base on the throw to home. Nick Dombrowski (St. Xavier / Crestwood, Ill.) popped a sac-fly in foul territory, Carlson tagged up and scored, 6-0. 

 The Giants scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the third on an RBI groundout, 6-1.

 In the fourth, the Vikings kept their foot on the gas pedal. Little drew a lead-off walk, stole second base and advanced to third on a passed ball. Sefcik lined an RBI single, scoring Little, 7-1. Jason Krol (Lewis / Chicago, Ill.) drew a walk the next at-bat. Sefcik and Krol advanced one base due to a passed ball, Crowel lined a sac-fly to right field, scoring Sefcik and advancing Krol to third, 8-1. Consecutive walks from Rigsby and Carlson loaded the bases with one out. Lenza squeaked a ball past the first baseman for a two RBI single, his fourth RBI of the game, scoring Krol and Rigsby, 10-1. Carlson scored on a wild pitch the next at-bat, extending the lead to 11-1. 

 “Being down two strikes, I’m expecting a fastball and reacting on off-speed pitches,” Lenza said. “When I see the fastball, I try to put it in the right spot and thankfully today it found the holes and drove some runs in, it was good for the team. When I get in the lineup. I don’t try to do too much, I play my game, it’s the reason I’m here, so I try to be me and help the team win the best I can. Just gonna try to build off of today’s performance, just because I drove in four runs today, doesn't mean I’m going to tomorrow, so I need to keep the same mentality, hit the ball some more, and keep it rolling for the team.

 Zach Costello (St. Xavier / Seneca, Ill.) started for the Vikings and provided the pitching performance the Vikings needed. Throwing three innings, two hits, one unearned run, two strikeouts, setting the tone in the game. 

 The Giants came back with one more in the fourth inning, not going away, 11-2.

 The Viking bats stayed hot in the fifth inning, with a Sefcik double and an RBI single from Crowel scoring Sefick, 12-2. 

 Down 10, the Giants didn’t go away as they scored five runs in the sixth inning and one run in the eighth inning, entering the ninth inning trailing the Vikings 12-8.

 Runners on third and second with no outs for the Giants in the ninth. Sefcik made his second appearance of the season, shutting the Giants down. Leaving the runners stranded, recording the save, and helping the Vikings win 12-8, breaking their five game win streak. 

 “That was a great win for us today,” Vikings Assistant Manager Ryan Gyrion said. “We hit the ball well, scored runs, and had clutch pitching late in the game to help pull out the win. We’ve been sensing a game like this, it’s never fun being on a losing streak, it’s a great way to start a win streak and how we played today is that reason why, it’s been due for us. I also wanna wish Vikings Manger Rocco Mossuto a Happy Fathers Day and once again a great win for the Vikings.” 

 The Vikings next game is Monday, June 21 against the Joliet Generals. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and at Lee Pfund Field located in Carol Stream, Ill. The game will be available on the Southland Vikings Facebook Page via Facebook Live. Kevin Redfern and Jack Theil will have the call for the game.


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