Game Changer

Six Run Fifth Inning, Helps Vikings Cruise Over Panthers

By: Jack Theil

Hammond, Ind. - July 29, 2021 - The Southland Vikings (16-18) on a two game win streak and in fourth in the MCL standings. Hosted the third place Crestwood Panthers (18-17) on Thursday. A pitchers duel till the fifth inning, Vikings using one inning to score the majority of their runs and cruised to a 7-1 win in seven innings.

 Both offenses were silent until the Vikings offense exploded in the fifth inning. Lead-off double from Ethan Imlach (Purdue Northwest / Mokena, Ill.) down the left field line. Kyel Alexander (St. Ambrose / Burbank, Ill.) drew a walk and Darrius Little (Morton / Chicago, Ill.) reached on base via error, loading the bases with no outs. Chris McDevitt (Indiana State / Chicago, Ill.) ripped a bases clearing double down the right field line, giving the Vikings a 3-0 lead. Luke Sefcik (Central Michigan / Palos Heights, Ill.) continued with an RBI single to left field, 4-0. Consecutive walks from Logan Anderson (South Suburban / Frankfort, Ill.) and Jason Krol (Lewis / Chicago, Ill.) loaded the bases with one out. Shawn Rigsby (St. Ambrose / Myrtle Creek, Ore.) drew a third straight walk scoring Sefcik, 5-0. Alex Gasbarro (Purdue Northwest / New Lenox, Ill.) chopped an infield RBI single plating the sixth run of the inning, 6-0.

 “We’ve been soaking in these last two wins, playing good and hitting the ball hard,” McDevitt said. “Just being confident at the plate and playing with a fun team that is cheering you on helps a lot. The Vikings are going to come out and get some these next weeks of games and make a playoff push.”

 Southland added one more run in the sixth inning. Lead-off walk for Little, Little stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw from the catcher. McDevitt lined an RBI single up the middle for his fourth RBI of the day, 7-0. 

Jake Paymaster (Triton / New Lenox, Ill.) received the start for the Vikings and the MCL All-Star worked his pitches throughout the game shutting down the Panthers. Paymaster only gave up one run in the seventh inning, 7-1. Overall, Paymaster threw seven innings, allowed three hits, one run, and struck out nine in the 7-1 win, helping the Vikings win their third straight game. 

 “They weren’t aggressive at the plate, I was able to throw first pitch strikes for the majority and just had everything feeling good today,” Paymaster said. “Mentality is just to attack the hitters, with the offense we have I know there’ll be an inning where we can put up a big number. It’s easy to be confident, Logan made some great plays at third base but the whole defense played as a whole well.”

 The Vikings next game is Friday, July 30 against the Joliet Generals. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the game is at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill. The game will be broadcasted on the Southland Vikings Facebook Page via Facebook Live. Kevin Redfern will have the call for the game.

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