Vikings Lose Drama-Filled Game Against Oilmen

By: Cavan Malayter

Whiting, Ind. – July 8, 2022 – The Friday evening contest could easily be compared to the film, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” with everything that could go wrong for the Southland Vikings going wrong. From dealing with a ruckus Friday night crowd to having two of their own ejected and eventually falling on a walk-off error. 

The Southland Vikings (17-12-1) fell heartbreakingly to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen (18-14) in walk-off fashion, with the Oilmen taking game one of a two-game series by a score of 10-9. 

“[Once] you get the position players pitching, it usually doesn't work out the way you want it,” Vikings coach Scott Nowakowski said. 

That’s what it came down to for Southland in the final innings, using position players on the mound to try and protect the team’s three-run lead at the time. However, the craziness didn’t start there. 

After the Vikings and Oilmen traded two-run innings of their own, the ‘Vikes took a 4-2 lead in the top of the third, courtesy of a Max Malley two-RBI single, scoring Luke Sefcik and A.J. Taylor. The single was the second of four hits on the evening for Malley. 

“Just getting more at-bats under my belt this season was really helping,” Malley said. “[I was able to] get my timing on deck, that's the most important thing if you have time [to prepare].” 

The two teams would trade zeros until the home half of the sixth when the Oilmen would put up three runs without recording a hit. Northwest Indiana seemed to have all the momentum in the top of the seventh with their reliever recording two quick outs. But, the Vikings did not quit. 

Luke Sefcik was able to drive a base hit up the middle and A.J. Taylor did the same. Then Anthony Fornero would plate Sefcik with an RBI single of his own. Max Malley was the next batter and he would knock Taylor in with an RBI single. A wild pitch would see Fornero score to give Southland the lead. The inning was capped off by a Nick Fies RBI single, scoring Malley from second. That hit for Fies was his first since June 14, and it gave the Vikings a crucial insurance run at the time. 

But the drama didn’t stop there. In the bottom half of the seventh, Ray Cantelo had two quick outs and was in a battle with Czarnecki of the Oilmen. Czarnecki took a full-count pitch that appeared to be a strike but was ruled a ball by the home plate umpire. 

The call frustrated the Vikings, especially manager Rocco Mossuto, who found himself being ejected from the contest following an argument with the home plate umpire. A second Viking would be ejected from the dugout in the ensuing minutes.

Down two of their own, Southland was able to tack on a run in the eighth to make it a nine-to-six contest, but they ran out of arms. Having to rely on two position players in the eighth and ninth innings to try and close out the ballgame didn’t work out in their favor. 

While the Vikings recorded a scoreless eighth, the ninth inning was the opposite. The first four batters who came to bat for Northwest Indiana in the ninth scored, completing the Oilmen comeback. 

The Vikings will return to action on Saturday, July 9, to complete the two-game series with the Oilmen. The game is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. and will be aired on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network. 

7/8/22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E L
Vikings 2 0 2 0 0 0 4 1 0 9 12 2 9
Oilmen 0 2 1 0 0 3 0 0 4 10 8 3 10

Photo Credit: Isaiah Santiago

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