Vikings rout Will County Crackerjacks 10-0 in Home Opener

By: Kasey Salamie Southland Vikings Contributor. Flossmoor, IL— It was the home opener for the Vikings on Tuesday night. Homewood native Aaron Hauge was called upon by Viking’s coach Chris Cunningham to shut down the Will County Crackerjacks hot bats. The Crackerjacks entered Tuesday night with the best record in the Midwest Collegiate League at 6-1 and 5-1 in Midwest Collegiate League play. The Vikings entered Tuesday night with a 4-3 record and a 2-2 Midwest Collegiate League record. Viking’s starting pitcher Aaron Hauge had just recently finished his season at Heartland Community College where he led his team to the Junior College World Series. Hauge finished the season 10-1 with a 2.41 ERA. Hauge (1-0) did not have his best stuff tonight, but he was still spectacular. To only allow one hit over six innings while not having his best stuff means when he is on and has all of pitches working he is unhittable. Hauge pitched six innings giving up only one hit while striking out six Crackerjack hitters. Hauge felt good to get his first start under his belt. “It felt good to get my first start and win for the Vikings, especially since it was the home opener. Tonight I felt like my change-up was best pitch. I was getting ahead of hitters and that is always key to my success. I owe a lot of my success tonight to my defense,” said Hauge. The Viking’s defense was stellar. Second basemen James Dawson made a full extension diving play to rob the Crackerjacks of a base hit. Dawson said, “He hit the ball extremely hard so I knew I would have to react quickly to it. I timed it perfectly.” Dawson also had an exceptional day at the plate. He was bumped up to the two spot in the lineup and he responded by going 2-4 with a double, 2 RBI’s, and a run scored. Dawson was not the only Viking player to hit the ball with authority on Tuesday night. Viking’s left fielder Mike Kane continued his hot hitting. After tonight’s game he has seven hits in last seven plate appearances including 4 doubles and a homerun. Tonight he was 4-4 against Will County with two doubles, 4 RBI’s, and a run scored. Kane had a clutch hit to get the offense going in the first by knocking in Elliot Armstrong and James Dawson with his double. Kane said, “The ball looks really big right now. I am just trying to put a quick powerful swing on the ball. A key to me being successful at the plate is when I get my foot down early. When I do that I hit that ball like I am doing now.” Kane is on one those hitting streaks that you never want to end as a hitter. Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Elliot Armstrong was another key contributor to the Viking’s offense. Elliot has done a spectacular job in the leadoff spot this season. On Tuesday night he was 1-2 with two walks, two runs, and a RBI. “I am just doing my job for the team. When I do my job for the team and it helps us win, that is all I can ask for,” said Armstrong. Former pro baseball player in the Tampa Bay Rays organization Chris Cunningham was impressed in the 10-0 win against the Crackerjacks. “We had some great defense tonight. The play by Dawson was unbelievable. The timely hitting by Kane and Dawson was great to see. You do not win ball games unless you have timely hitting. Whenever you get runs early for a pitcher like Hauge you know it makes it tough for team to come back,” said Cunningham. The Vikings take on the Chicago Zephyrs Wednesday night at 7 PM.

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