By: Will Trubshaw
Whiting, Ind. – July 6, 2019 – The Vikings came back down to Earth Saturday night in Whiting, as the Northwest Indiana Oilmen delivered a 14-6 beatdown to snap the Vikings six-game win streak. The loss was just the third in the last 15 games for the Vikings and lacked many of the qualities that had made the Vikings so successful during their winning streak.
All-Star Logan Strutz (Triton College/Lockport, Ill.) struggled mightily, getting through just 3 1/3 innings while allowing 8 runs in the process. It was the shortest Vikings start since Christian Bolhuis (Wheaton College/Oak Lawn, Ill.) went 4 innings on June 25.
Strutz’s struggles coincided with the Vikings’ worst defensive effort of the season, as they committed a season-high four errors.
“It was just one of those days. Everyone gets one or two of those a year, and today was our day,” said Manager Dave Letourneau. “There’s really nothing to say, everyone knows what went wrong. You just move on and bounce back tomorrow.”
The Vikings opened the scoring in the second when Michael Marseille (Lake Land College/Chicago Heights, Ill.) doubled off the wall in left to drive in a pair. The lead did not last long as the Oilmen’s Hunter Ryan hit a towering 2-run homer to right, tying the game 2-2.
The Oilmen would score at least one run in every inning from the second until the sixth, but it was the fourth inning when they threw their haymaker, scoring nine runs while sending fourteen men to the plate.
The inning forced the Vikings to use three different pitchers to record three outs and signaled that it was not the Vikings day, as the Oilmen lead stood at 12-2 after 4 innings.
The Vikings offense showed signs of life in the sixth when they pushed three across, but the Oilmen would score their final run in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to 14-5.
The Vikings would score one more run in the eighth to make it a 14-6 game, but then turned to IF/OF Billy Curtis (Moraine Valley CC/Lockport, Ill.) to pitch and preserve the bullpen.
With the white flag raised, the Vikings fell to 15-6 for the season. Though they still remain in first place, they will face a tall task Sunday, as they make the journey to Bloomington for a doubleheader with the third place Bobcats, who sit four just four games out of first. That is followed by a return to Lemont to face the second place DuPage County Hounds on Monday.
With a quick turnaround on the horizon, Letourneau and the Vikings know that they will have to put the harsh loss behind them and focus on finishing their road trip off in winning fashion.
“Forget about what happened today as if it never happened. You move on and you play your game tomorrow. We need to go into Bloomington, and we need to take both of them,” said Letourneau.
Game 1 of the double header is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch, and Game 2 will begin approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1. Will Trubshaw will have the call from O’Neil Park for the Southland Vikings Broadcast Network.
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