By: David Bork
CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. -- The Southland Vikings captured their third Midwest Collegiate League Championship crown with a 6-0 victory against the Bloomington Bobcats at Hap Bruno Field on Tuesday.
The Vikings, who upsetted the DuPage County Hounds in the MCL Semifinals after losing the first game and winning the next two, did the same thing in the MCL Finals. The Bobcats won the first game Saturday, 13-11 after rallying in the ninth but the Vikings won the last two to take the championship. The Vikings won Game 2 in a pitchers duel, 1-0 and had some stellar pitching again today to win 6-0.
Kevin Franchetti, First-Year Manager of the Southland Vikings, said it is a great feeling to be able to win the championship.
"We had a successful run, had ups and downs but got more at bats and finished the season really well," Franchetti said. "We could not gel together, told guys it is a long season and stick together."
Franchetti, who was a member of the 2012 Northwest Indiana Oilmen, won the MCL Championship against the DeKalb County Liners and became the first player in MCL History to win a MCL Championship as a player and as a coach.
"It is pretty cool and bittersweet I told guys ins and outs about the league and gave them advice," Franchetti said. "It is nice seeing the guys celebrate and I saw myself during my time with Oilmen when we won the championship."
Connor Spear (Highland, Ind./Wisconsin-Whitewater) was lights out on the mound for the Vikings, pitching a complete game shutout, throwing all nine innings, scattering four hits, issuing three walks and striking out one. Spear only gave up one extra base hit and only allowed two runners to reach base one time.
The Vikings jumped on Bobcats pitching early on in the first inning and never looked back. Peisker singled, Tyler Kenjic (Hobart, Ind./Purdue Northwest) walked, Tom Decero (Munster, Ind./Missouri-St. Louis) singled. Kyle Fitzgerald (Brookfield, Ill./Quincy) roped a two-RBI single to left scoring Peisker and Kenjic then Torrence Summerlin (Chicago, Ill./South Alabama) singled to left scoring Decero to give Southland a 3-0 advantage.
Jack Gainer (Chicago, Ill./UIC) doubled to start the third, Fitzgerald drew a walk and both later scored after Summerlin roped a double to left to give the Vikings a 5-0 lead. Peisker led off the fourth with a double, Decero grounded him over to third, Fitzgerald then singled to center, scoring Peisker.
The Bobcats had a chance in the third after Ryan Scott (Normal, Ill./North Central) singled to right, Jack Butler (Downs, Ill./Illinois State) singled to left which gave Bloomington second and first with one out. Glynn forced a ground ball that turned into a double-play to get out of the fourth inning.
After finishing the 2016 season at 18-26. The Vikings started this year 8-12 to start the season then was 16-16 at the All-Star Break. After the break, the Vikings started feeling it and went 16-8 the rest of the year to finish 32-23.
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