Vikings win in walk-off fashion

By: Kasey Salamie Southland Vikings Contributor. Flossmoor, IL—The Michigan City Lakers traveled to Flossmoor to take on the Southland Vikings on Thursday night. The Lakers were looking for some revenge after getting routed 9-0 by the Vikings earlier in the season. The Vikings (9-4 overall, 6-3 in the Midwest Collegiate League) were riding a three-game win streak going into the game against the Lakers. Viking’s manager Chris Cunningham sent side-winding right-hander Dave Nelson to the hill. Nelson did not have his best stuff. The Lakers jumped all over him early in the game. They pushed across three runs against Nelson in the first inning. Nelson was leaving many of his pitches up in the strike zone and Lakers’ hitters were taking advantage. Nelson threw five innings and gave up seven runs. The Vikings were in a substantial hole early in the game but the team refused to give up. The Lakers’ starting pitcher Ladrew Smith also had trouble early on in the game. Smith gave up three runs in the first inning. Smith settled down. The three runs he gave up in the first were the only earned runs he gave up in 6 innings pitched. Smith really did a good job settling down after having trouble in the first. The Vikings were going to have to produce against their bullpen if they wanted to win this game. They sure did produce against the bullpen. The Vikings offense had some clutch timely hits from a few different players. Viking’s shortstop A.J Doyle had two big hits in the game resulting in 3 RBI’s. “For not seeing live pitching for about a week I felt really good up there,” Doyle said. Doyle continued, “I feel very comfortable in RBI situations. It felt good to come through for the team today and help contribute to the win.” Doyle was not the only one that came through with some clutch hitting. Viking’s catcher Kuris Duggan had two hits including a significant two-run single. Duggan explains his two-run single. “It felt good to square the ball up and drive two-runs. This was a big win for us tonight,” said Duggan. Undoubtedly the best clutch hit of the ball game came from Viking’s outfielder Dontrell Rush. Rush nearly missed a homerun earlier in the game. He came to the plate with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Vikings were trailing 9-7. Rush drilled a base hit up the middle that scored two runs in the at bat. Rush was humble after the game talking about his game-tying hit. “I just stayed focused and tried to hit the ball up middle and I did the job,” said Rush. Rush did more than just the “job”. He came through when the Vikings needed him the most. The Vikings were down to their last out and down two runs when he smashed a clutch single that forced the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth the Vikings won the game in walk-off fashion. It was an unorthodox walk-off win. The bases were loaded with one out and Ian O’Connor came to the plate. He hit a hard ground ball to third. The Lakers third basemen threw a rocket to home getting the first out. The catcher looked to turn a double play by throwing it to first to get his team out of the inning but his throw hit O’Connor as he was running to first. The ball took a bad bounce and it allowed James Dawson to score the winning run. The Vikings would not have won the game if it was not for Tyler Scott coming in and shutting down the Lakers. Scott came into the game with his team trailing but kept his team in game to set them up to get the win. Scott pitched 5 innings of relief, only giving up 2 runs. Scott was satisfied with his outing. “This was my longest outing of the season. My cutter and slider were working really well tonight,” said Scott. Scott picked up the victory in the walk-off win. Viking’s manager Chris Cunningham was ecstatic with the come from behind victory. “It was great to see Tyler Scott throw the ball well. He really kept us in the game. Dontrell Rush had the big hit for us in this one. He was one of the heroes for us tonight,” said Cunningham. The Vikings will face-off against the Will County Crackerjacks on Friday night at 7 PM. They will look to continue playing well on their home field and increase their winning streak to five games.

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