By: Will Trubshaw
Chicago, Ill. – Aug. 2, 2019 - The dog days of summer open the door to some strange happenings on the diamond, and Friday’s game between the Vikings and Joliet Generals was a case study.
In a game that went only seven innings, there was just about everything from check swing singles, to position players pitching to outfield assist double plays in a game that the Vikings would win 15-4 in 7 innings.
The two teams agreed to call the game after the Vikings grabbed a ten-run lead in an effort to spare their depleted bullpens in a mostly meaningless game.
“In the last weekend when games don’t mean much in this league, it’s hard to really grind out games because they don’t matter,” manager Dave Letourneau said.
The Generals jumped out to a lead in the top half of the first, but like so many games between these teams this season, the Vikings were quick to respond, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first.
Jake Schroeder (NIU/Flossmoor, Ill.) doubled in two runs to tie the game, then Logan Anderson (South Suburban/Chicago, Ill.) singled a batter later with the bases full to put the Vikings in front 3-2. Joe Curci (RPI/Chicago, Ill.) would draw a bases loaded walk to put the Vikings in front by two.
Two more runs came for the Vikings in the second, RBIs courtesy of Justin (NCC/Lemont, Ill.) and Anthony Rios (Lewis University, Lemont, Ill.). In the fourth the offense would blow the game wide open without collecting a single hit. Five walks and a hit batter, to go along with four wild pitches helped the Vikings take a 10-3 lead.
After five good innings from Christian Bolhuis (Wheaton College/Oak Lawn, Ill.), the Vikings turned to Steve Insley (Moraine Valley/Chicago, Ill.) to pitch with no other pitchers available from the bullpen. He gave up one run in two innings of work, and almost worked a perfect seventh to seal the win for the Vikings.
Insley’s job was made easier the half-inning before when the Vikings tacked on five runs to go up 15-4. Singles by Michael Marseille (Lake Land College/Chicago, Ill.) and Justin Rios plus sac flies from Kyel Alexander (Moraine Valley/Chicago, Ill.) and Dashon Moore (U of I Springfield/ South Holland, Ill.) helped extend the lead to 11 for Southland.
The Vikings needed only nine hits to score their 15 runs, with eight of their nine starters picking up RBIs and all nine batters reaching base at least once.
“We came up with some hits, we took some walks. We played a good baseball game, it was just one of those games where you’ve just got to grind through it,” Letourneau said.
The shortened victory helped the Vikings clinch one of the top two seeds for the MCL playoffs, and while they still sit a half game back of Bloomington, can relax knowing that they have a home field advantage for at least the first round of the postseason.
Up next, the Vikings play their penultimate game of the regular season Saturday against potential first round opponent DuPage County Hounds.
The game has had a time and location change from the original schedule. Instead of at St. Rita at 1 p.m., it will be played at the Lemont High School Sports Complex starting at noon. The game will be broadcast on the Southland Vikings Broadcast network, with Will Trubshaw flying solo on the call.
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