Viking Bats Awaken, Power Past Giants

By: Cavan Malayter

Chicago, Ill. – July 1, 2022 – “The great thing about baseball is that you can lose 24-nothing. You get another day to play,” Vikings coach Scott Nowakowski said. 

Which was the philosophy for the Southland Vikings (15-11-1) entering Friday’s matchup against the Chicago American Giants (4-19-1), a matchup the Vikings won by a final of 8-4. The Viking offense got off to a hot start, capped off by the team’s first grand slam of the season.

After falling behind in a 1-0 hole to the Giants, the bottom of the Viking lineup went to work and it paid off. Following a leadoff groundout, a pair of walks from Nick Fies and Max Everaert with an Anthony Fornero double sandwiched in between brought Kyle Fenner to the plate with the bases loaded. 

Fenner took the first pitch he saw in the at-bat and crushed it to right-center field for his first home run of the summer and the Vikings' first grand slam of 2022. 

“First the first at-bat I took two pitches down the middle and I was pretty annoyed,” Fenner said. "So, on my second at-bat, I went up there. [Thought to myself] I'm just gonna throw some barrels at the ball, I hit it, [but] I did not know it was out.”

In the following inning, Fenner would drive in two more runs on a two-run single to make it a 6-1 Vikings lead. After a pitcher’s duel for the next inning and a half, Southland would add on two more runs, courtesy of an A.J. Taylor two-RBI double. 

From there the Viking pitching staff would be effective only allowing three more runs to cross and getting out of several jams with multiple runners on. Starter Max Everaert earned the win, tossing five innings of one-run baseball, yielding four hits while dishing out three walks and three strikeouts. He was relieved by right-hander Liam McKillop who had a strong showing out of the ‘pen. 

McKillop went three innings, allowing two runs, with only three hits and one walk allowed. McKillop also struck out three batters. However, the bigger challenge for McKillop in Friday’s contest may not have come from the opposing hitters. 

“Just kind of pretend like I couldn't hear anything,” McKillop said. “But it was tough…they were kind of cheering me on a little bit too. So I mean, not too bad.”

The Southland Vikings will now enjoy a three-day weekend before they return to action on Tuesday, July 5, when they’ll travel to Marian Catholic High School to take on the Crestwood Panthers. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. and can be seen on Facebook Live. 

7/1/22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E L
Vikings 0 4 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 8 8 4 10
Giants 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 8 0 9

This is Vikings Baseball.

Photo Credit: Isaiah Santiago

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