By: Will Trubshaw
Bloomington, Ill. – July 7, 2019 – The Vikings had high hopes coming into a weekend filled with 5 games in four days, that they could use it as a statement weekend creating separation in the standings.
Instead, the Vikings have entered into a collective slump, culminating in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Bloomington Bobcats on Sunday. The Vikings’ offense combined to score just three runs over fourteen innings, losing 2-1 in the first contest, and 4-2 in the second.
Throughout both games the Vikings had plenty of opportunities with runners in scoring position but were not able to convert. In all they left 17 men on base over the course of the two games, and only one of their three runs were scored on a ball put in play.
“It comes down to execution. We had guys on all day long, had chances all day and just failed because we were trying to do way too much,” said Vikings Manager Dave Letourneau.
In game one, pitching was on full display as both Jaime Prieto (Kishwaukee College/Chicago, Ill.) and Bobcats starter Chase Gockel cruised through the first three innings. Both the Vikings and Bobcats scored in the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. In the top half of the fifth (the games were played as a home game for the Vikings despite being played in Bloomington) the Bobcats used back to back one out hits to take a 2-1 lead.
The Vikings would have several chances to tie and take the lead, with their best in the bottom of the seventh. Drew Komendant (UW-Whitewater/Lemont, Ill.) and Dashon Moore (U of I Springfield/South Holland, Ill.) stood at third and first base respectively with one out, but Moore was thrown out trying to steal second on a broken play, and Justin Rios (NCC/Lemont, Ill.) flew out to left to end the game.
In the second game, the miscues continued, though at first, they benefitted Southland. After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Moore singled in the third to drive in the tying run, and in the next inning the Vikings loaded the bases thanks to a hit batter and Bobcat error, before Billy Curtis (Moraine Valley/Lockport, Ill.) was walked to score the go-ahead run.
The lead did not last long. Max Malley’s (University of Evansville/Frankfort, Ill.) error in the fifth set the Bobcats up with two in scoring position for David Fleita, who singled to put Bloomington back in front 3-2. The Bobcats tacked on an insurance run in the seventh, but it proved moot as the Vikings squandered scoring chances late in the game and fell 4-2.
“I think today we were selfish. We beat ourselves, they didn’t beat us,” Letourneau said.
The losses dropped Southland to 15-8 on the year and ensured a losing road trip. It also marked the third straight loss for the Vikings, matching their three-game losing streak from the start of the season.
The Vikings will not have much time to dwell on their struggles, as they complete their five-game road trip Monday by returning to Lemont, where they picked up their most recent win last Friday.
“We were really bad. We deserved to lose both games today 100%, but now you’ve got to completely wash this,” Letourneau said. “You’ve got to go right back to Lemont tomorrow and you gotta put good at bats together and find a way to get rid of what just happened over the last couple days.”
Will Trubshaw will have the call of the game for the Southland Vikings Broadcast Network. The matchup between the Vikings and Hounds is scheduled for a 5 p.m. first pitch
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