By: Will Trubshaw
Chicago, Ill. – July 31, 2019 – Long layoffs have produced mixed results for the Vikings in a season full of them. After two more days off, The Vikings did not get the result they were looking for. Despite picking up 10 hits, the Vikings could not convert their baserunners into runs as they lost Wednesday to the Bloomington Bobcats 5-1.
A three-run third was all the separation needed for the Bobcats to top the Vikings for the seventh time in nine tries. The win also put Bloomington in front of the Vikings by a full game in the standings.
The game got off to a rather quick start with neither starting pitcher looking like they would allow much. Justin Rios (NCC/Lemont, Ill.) got the ball for the Vikings in search of his seventh win of the season. Though he was solid through 5 innings of work, the Bobcats third inning ambush put them in front 3-0 and created a deficit the Vikings could not recover from.
“It comes down to the third inning. (Justin) made an 0-2 mistake, then a walk the next at bat and then a 2-run double,” said manager Dave Letourneau.
The Bobcats sent right hander Jack Gilmore to pitch, and after getting tattooed by the Vikings last week for eight runs in 5 innings, went the distance Wednesday in an impressive bounce back performance.
The Vikings solved Gilmore only once, when Billy Curtis (Moraine Valley/Lockport, Ill.) singled in Logan Anderson (South Suburban/Chicago, Ill.) to make it a 3-1 ballgame. Curtis also took the mound for three scoreless relief innings to keep the Vikings within striking distance.
The Bobcats scored two insurance runs in the top half of the ninth to go up 5-1, but the Vikings weren’t done just yet.
With Gilmore still on the mound tiring fast, the Vikings showed great discipline at the plate and drew three straight walks to load the bases. With nobody out, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to create a rally and extend, or maybe even walk the game off.
Instead the Vikings went out more with a thud than a bang, popping out twice and grounding out to end the game with the bases still full
“We didn’t do a good job battling at the plate. You can’t have bad at-bats with the bases loaded, nobody out. We didn’t even get a run home in the ninth. We’ve got to a better job putting the ball in play, getting solid contact,” Letourneau said.
The loss dropped the Vikings to 22-16 on the year and a full game out of first. With four games remaining on the schedule, the Vikings will almost certainly need to win three of four, if not all four games, if they hope to remain as one of the top two seeds heading into the postseason.
Southland will finish their season with three of four games against the Joliet Generals, a team desperate to squeeze into the playoff picture. The two teams meet for the first of these battles Thursday from Joliet Junior College. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. and will be broadcast jointly by the Southland Vikings and Joliet Generals Broadcast Network.
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