By: Kasey Salamie Southland Vikings Contributor. Flossmoor, IL The Vikings put a beating on the Crackerjacks Tuesday night winning 10-0. In that game everything was clicking for the Vikings. They had strong pitching, good defense, and timely hitting. The Crackerjacks were looking for some revenge against the Vikings on Friday night. The Will County Crackerjacks (6-4) were looking to end a three game losing streak going into Friday nights matchup against the Southland Vikings (3-3). Crackerjacks manager Vern Hasty sent his ace Stephen Taylor to the bump to face the Vikings to stop his teams current skid. Taylor is having a great season so far for Will County. Before tonights game he was 3-0, only allowing 3 hits in 18 innings pitched. Taylor is clearly the ace of their staff. Southland Vikings manager Chris Cunningham sent crafty right-hander Brandon Duplessis to the mound. Duplessis was coming off of a complete game shutout performance against the Rockford Foresters. Everything looked great for the Vikings early in the game. They were getting timely hitting and good pitching. Vikings third basemen Ian OConnor, who was the designated hitter tonight, came up with a timely hit to put the Vikings ahead 2-1. I was looking for a pitch I could drive, said OConnor. OConnor came up with a clutch hit and after that he scored on base hit by Kuris Duggan with an outstanding hook slide to avoid the tag. (The hook slide) It was one of those baseball instinctive plays. I did not even think about it. I just reacted to where the catcher caught the ball and slid around his tag, said OConnor. Vikings catcher Kuris Duggan had a nice 2-run single to right field that put the Vikings ahead by 3. In these past few games I have been thinking too much at the plate. I tried to keep it simple in that at bat and I looked for a fastball over the middle of the plate, said Duggan. Vikings infielder James Dawson continued his hot hitting. Dawson went 2-4 with a long homerun into the Flossmoor night. (Hitting the homerun) It felt good to hit the ball solidly, I knew what pitch he was throwing and I jumped all over it, said Dawson. Dawson has looked great for the Vikings over these past three games. He looks very comfortable at the plate. Vikings starting pitcher Brandon Duplessis (1-1) was dealing early. Duplessis got into some trouble going into the 6th inning. He still battled and pitched well for not having his best stuff. My slider was flat for most of the night. Early in the game I was getting ahead of hitters, but I could not stay ahead of them the whole game. Ultimately, the Crackerjack hitters just started sitting on my fastball when I could not get the slider over for a strike, said Duplessis. Duplessis pitched 6 innings, giving up 4 earned runs, and striking out 6 Crackerjack batters. Duplessis was handed his first loss of the season in this game. The Will County Crackerjack's starting pitcher Stephen Taylor picked up his 4th win of the season. The Southland Vikings were the first team to score against Taylor this season. Taylor pitched a complete game against the Vikings on Friday night, striking out 6 batters. He was impressive because his defense almost let the Vikings back in the game. Vikings manager Chris Cunningham had some good things to say about both teams after the loss. You have to hand it to Stephen Taylor. He pitched a heck of a ball game. We had some great timely hits in this ball game and it looked like we were going to get the win early on. Brandon battled in this game even though he did not have his best stuff. Hopefully we can get two wins in our double header tomorrow, said Cunningham. The Vikings take on the Chicago Zephyrs in a day night double header starting at 12 pm tomorrow.
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