Vikings Offense Fails to Convert Opportunities in Loss

By: Jack Theil

Hammond, Ind. - June 29, 2021 - The Southland Vikings (7-12) coming off their first win streak of the season, faced the Crestwood Panthers (10-8) on Tuesday. The Vikings pitching was dominant but the bigger story was the failed opportunities and runners stranded for the Vikings. Southland stranded 11 runners, putting themselves in a hole and eventually lost to the Panthers 6-5. 

 The Panthers scored the first runs of the game in the second inning. Scoring three after a mix of walks, hits, errors, taking an early 3-0 lead. 

 Southland started to make its comeback in the third inning. A two-out Logan Anderson (South Suburban / Frankfort, Ill.) single and an RBI triple from Chris McDevitt (Indiana State / Chicago, Ill.) gave the Vikings their first run of the game 3-1.

 Nolan Vlcek (Marshalltown / Lockport, Ill.) started his second appearance in a row for the Vikings and was flat out impressive. Striking out the side in the first inning and generating 18 swings and misses, a season high. Vlceks day was done after six innings, giving up six hits, two earned runs, two walks, and tying his season high, nine strikeouts, totalling 31 strikeouts in 20 innings. 

 The Vikings offense generated some noise in the eighth inning. Lead-off double from Joe Selby (Triton / Romeoville, Ill.). An errant throw on the play of Lucas Spence (Uncommitted / Beecher, Ill.) put two runners on. Luke Sefcik (Central Michigan / Palos Heights, Ill.) lined an RBI single to left field, scoring Selby, 3-2. Jaden Lee (Uncommitted / Monee, Ill.) worked a four pitch walk to load the bases with zero outs. This is where the Vikings dug themselves into a hole, that was the story of the game. Bases loaded and no outs, the Vikings went down on three outs quickly, having not one run in the situation, and only totaling one run in the inning. 

 The next half-inning the Panthers scored three key insurance runs extending their lead 6-2.

 With three outs to work with the Vikings didn’t go down quietly. An Anderson lead-off single and Jason Krol (Lewis / Chicago, Ill.) hit a ground ball that caused an errant throw from the shortstop, scoring Anderson from first and advanced Krol to third base, 6-3. Selby and Spence drew consecutive walks, loading the bases with no outs for the second straight inning. Sefcik grounded into a double play, scoring Krol, but two quick outs were made, 6-4. Lee lined an RBI single to the second baseman, scoring Selby, Vikings down 6-5 with one out to work with. Nick McAllister (Erskine College / Homewood, Ill.) struck out looking leaving the tying runner Lee stranded at second base. In the 6-5 loss, the Vikings left 11 runners on base, and had the bases loaded three times and only one run to show for it in those opportunities. 

 “It’s simple, they hit the ball with the bases loaded and we didn’t,” Vikings Manager Rocco Mossuto said. “The times we had the bases loaded, there was less than one out and we couldn’t convert. Baseball is a simple game and unfortunately after a strong pitching performance from Vlcek we weren’t able to score more runs.”

 The Vikings next game is Wednesday, June 30 vs Chicago American Giants. First pitch is slated for 5:05 p.m. and will take place at Dowling Park located in Hammond, Ind. The game will be broadcasted on the Southland Vikings Facebook Page via Facebook Live. Jack Theil will have the call for the game.

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