Vikings Sweep Road Doubleheader In Carol Stream

By: Cavan Malayter

Carol Stream, Ill. – July 13, 2022 – Sometimes you win games with ease, the other makes your heartbeat race a little faster.

That was true for the Southland Vikings (20-12-1) as they completed both ends of a day-night doubleheader sweep of the Joliet Generals (14-16). Southland took game one by a final of 14-5 and the second game by a score of 4-2. The two put Southland at the 20-win mark this season, becoming the second team in the league to accomplish that feat.

The first game of the doubleheader saw everything go Southland’s way. The offense was able to put up 14 runs on 14 hits in the first game and never looked back after a hot start. The Vikings jumped out to a 5-2 lead heading into the fourth inning and after Chris McDevitt, Will Flanigan, and Jon Crowel reached safely, Jason Krol would proceed to hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring McDevitt from third. The very next batter, Daniel Barrios stepped up and hit an RBI double, scoring Flanigan from second. Barrios’ double would be his third of four trips on the basepaths and second RBI of the contest.

“It just felt really good to get some balls out there to help out the team,” Barrios said. “I saw a few breaking balls and off-speed pitches very well, so that helped me to focus on fastballs and put that in play.”

Barrios would be followed-up by back-to-back RBI singles from Nick Daugherty and Nick Fies. The inning would be capped off by an RBI triple from A.J. Taylor and another RBI single from Will Flanigan.

Flanigan would also record an RBI single in the top of the sixth to be the dagger for the Vikings in game one.

“I was just looking for one pitch,” Flanigan said. “Just a fastball with a play and they gave it to me and it worked out, even though my last hit was a blooper, it just worked my way.”

Besides the strong offensive performance from Southland, the excellence of the pitching staff proved to be the difference. The ‘Vikes got four and a third from right-hander Colin Amsden who, despite allowing five earned runs and eight hits, was in control for most of the contest, as he picked up a season-high five strikeouts.

“My breaking ball was really good today,” Amsden said. “I didn't really have the changeup [today], so Johnny just kept calling that breaking ball, and [I] just kept throwing it in for strikes.”

Amsden was relieved by right-hander Ray Cantelo who was able to throw two and two-thirds of shutout baseball to close out the game for the Vikings.

Game two saw a pitcher’s duel break out between the Vikings and Generals. With each side trading zeros through the first three innings of the contest. With Liam McKillop and Jack West of the Vikings trading zeros with Aaron Wojciechowski of Joliet, no one knew who was going to blink first.

It ended up being the Generals. As Max Malley led off the fourth inning with a double to left-center field, he was followed by A.J. Taylor, who would do the same thing in his at-bat, scoring Malley from second and giving the Vikings a one-run lead. For Taylor, that was his second of three hits in the contest and his third RBI on the day.

“I just attacked the fastball,” Taylor said. “They threw me a fastball as they left them over the plate and I just do what I did.”

But after two runs would score for Joliet in the bottom of the sixth, the Vikings were down to their final three outs. Jon Crowell led the seventh off for Southland with a walk and then Kyle Fenner would single to right field. The two would advance on a wild pitch, meaning there were runners on second and third and no one out for Nick Fies. Down to his last strike, Fies roped a sharp ground ball down the left field line for extra bases, scoring both runs and giving Southland the lead.

“I tried to battle that last at-bat tonight,” Fies said. “I just turned on it luckily it stayed inside the line and we got the lead now to get to go home happy.”

Fies would score on a Luke Sefcik RBI double to give the Vikings a two-run advantage.

But, the game wasn’t over yet. The Generals would proceed to load the bases with nobody out in the inning, forcing Rocco Mossuto to hand the ball off to infielder Luke Sefcik for the save. Sefcik would force the next three Joliet hitters to fly out, ending the game and completing the Southland sweep.

“I love pitching,” Sefcik said. “It just brings out a different mindset in me, so I just wanted to attack them, make them swing the bat, and not put anybody back on base.”

The Vikings will try and carry this momentum into Thursday when they’ll play host to the rival Northwest Indiana Oilmen for the 103rd installment of the rivalry. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. and fans will be able to watch live on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network.


Game 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E L
Vikings 2 1 2 7 0 2 0 14 14 1 10
Generals 0 2 0 0 3 0 0 5 10 4 7


Game 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E L
Vikings 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 4 7 0 8
Generals 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 6 1 11

This is Vikings Baseball.

Photo Credit: Isaiah Santiago

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