By: Jack Theil
Hammond, Ind. - July 7, 2020 - The Vikings would find themselves in another close ballgame Tuesday afternoon. After a one run victory on Monday, the Vikings sensed another close game would be in play. The Hounds would have themselves an early lead with scoring two runs in the first inning.
Dashon Moore (Illinois-Springfield/South Holland, Ill.) would cut into the lead with his first plate appearance of the day. Moore would rock a fastball to left field, later clearing the wall and recording his first home run of the year.
“Just attacking the ball, I was pretty much hustling,” Moore said. “I didn’t know if it was going out, I hit it pretty well and last game I pimped on a ball that didn’t go out so I wasn’t trying to make that mistake. I took a glance at it rounding first and knew it was going out.
”After a rough first inning, Matt Verdun (Lewis/Homer Glen, Ill.) would be untouchable after giving up two hits and two runs in the first. Verdun would go for four more innings and not allow a hit or run and two strikeouts.
“He’s such a rhythm guy, he struggles for the first three hitters and strikes out the next two,” Vikings manager Dave Letourneau said. The stuff he has from the second to the fifth inning he was controlling all his pitches. He was nasty and that’s the type of pitcher we expect, but I told him he's a rhythm guy and works fast and he did.”
The fifth inning would be crucial for the Vikings. Down by one and needing a run to tie the game. Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois/Homewood, Ill.) stepped to the plate and delivered. McAlister would ground out to shortstop but Chris McDevitt (Indiana State/Chicago, Ill.) would hustle home and beat the throw as the Vikings tied the game.
For the past three games, the Viking bullpen has been unstoppable and that same performance continued today. Dave Letourneau would signal to the bullpen and bring in Dan Traudeau (Illinois Wesleyan/Mokena, Ill.) with the game tied at 2-2. Trudeau would go two innings without allowing a single run.
The Vikings would once again go to their bullpen and call out Nick Heiden (Webster/Burbank, Ill.) to keep the game tied 2-2. Heiden would get through the inning with ease setting himself up for the ninth inning.
The bottom of the eighth is when the vetran Vikings would shine. After a Dashon Moore (Illinois-Springfield/South Holland, Ill.) walk to lead the inning. Logan Anderson (South Suburban/Frankfort, Ill.) would step up to the plate with the go ahead run at second base. Anderson would prevail and line a single into center scoring Moore to take the lead.
“You just have to have the mentality that you’re better than the guy on the mound,” Anderson said. “I had that mentality, I trusted what I know and I knew I was going to come through for the team.”
With taking the lead, Heiden was called for a second inning of work to try and win the game. He didn’t disappoint with striking out two and flying out the final batter to secure the win for the Vikings.
“It’s outstanding, when our pitchers aren’t able to go the distance it gets tough,” Dave Letourneau said. “I can’t say enough about Nick Heiden. He was just electric, stranding a runner at third in the eighth. Outstanding execution, you can’t ask for anything better.”
The Vikings will host the (3-0) Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Wednesday, July 8. The game will take place in Hammond, Ind. at Dowling Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 P.M.. Brandon Vickery, Andrew Fish, and Jack Theil will have the call for the game. You can watch the game on the Oilmen Facebook page via Facebook Live.
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