Vikings Capitalize On Oilmen Errors, Get Back In Win Column

By: Cavan Malayter

Hammond, Ind. – June 27, 2022 – The old saying in baseball holds, that good things happen when you put the ball in play. 

That happened on Monday at Hammond’s Dowling Park as the Southland Vikings (12-10-1) snapped their three-game skid, defeating the Northwest Indiana Oilmen (13-11) 8-5. In a wild back-and-forth contest that later turned into a pitcher’s duel, the Vikings were able to capture the victory in their 99th all-time meeting with the Oilmen. 

The majority of the offensive action in the contest came in the first inning of play, with the two sides combining to score eight runs on five hits. After falling behind 3-0, the Vikings immediately responded as the first four Vikings who came up to bat scored and would eventually send all nine batters to the plate, as both timely hitting and three Oilmen errors in the frame led to Southland scoring five and grabbing the lead for the first time. 

The second inning of play Monday night was just as long as the first, both teams were able to score runs and forced the other’s starting pitchers to work even harder. In the top of the second, the Oilmen were able to score a run to cut the deficit to one, however it could have been much worse for the Vikings. 

After starter Max Everaert walked the first two hitters, he was able to get a ground ball that was turned for a double play. He then gave up an RBI single to the next hitter and walked the one after before getting the Oilman to end the frame with a popup to first. 

The philosophy for Everaert was bend but don’t break, and he did just that. He would go on to pitch four more innings and allowed just one more run the rest of the way. He finished with a line of six innings pitched, five runs (all of them earned), six hits, four strikeouts, and three walks and earned the win, his fourth of the season. 

In the bottom half of the second, the Vikings tacked on two runs to give themselves a 7-4 lead, highlighted by a Chris McDevitt, RBI triple into the right-field corner, scoring A.J. Taylor from first base. For McDevitt, it would be the second of three hits in the contest and his second RBI in Monday night’s matchup. The contest would also be the first full game played for McDevitt since his return from surgery.

“Really good. Felt nice to be out with the ‘Vikes again,” McDevitt said. “I think I came back a little bit too early, so this feels a lot better. My main approach is the same as always, attacking [the ball] and I end up with my first two hits off two pitches.” 

A sacrifice fly from George Bilecki in the fourth inning allowed Southland to grab an 8-5 lead and put the game away. 

In the seventh inning, the Viking bullpen took over and did a strong job holding the lead. Left-hander Zach Costello took over and provided a scoreless inning yielding one hit while picking up a strikeout. 

“The key to my success is coming out and throwing strikes,” Costello said. “Try and minimize the walks, work on my pitches and let my defense do the work for me.” 

Jack West came in relief for an inning and a third of shutout ball and was replaced by Ray Cantelo in the top of the ninth with one out. Cantelo came in, threw two pitches, and got a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to secure the win and his second save of the season. 

The Vikings return to action on Tuesday night when they’ll travel to Whiting to take on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen for the 100th all-time matchup between the two sides. First pitch at Oil City Stadium is set for 7:10 p.m. with the game being aired on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network. 

6/27/22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E L
Oilmen 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 7 5 8
Vikings 5 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 X 8 7 1 5

This is Vikings Baseball.

Photo Credit: Isaiah Santiago

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