By: Jack Theil
Whiting, Ind. - July 17, 2020 - Entering Friday’s matchup there was a three-way virtual tie for first place in the MCL standings. The Vikings (9-5) and the Oilmen (9-3) were the two of three teams in the three-way tie. This was the third matchup between the two teams with both teams having one win against each other in the year. A back and forth game where both teams had the lead, the Oilmen were victorious with a walk-off winning 7-6.
The Vikings started the offense right off the bat with Kellen Quigley (Webster/Bolingbrook, Ill.) and Dashon Moore (Illinois-Springfield/South Holland, Ill.) drawing walks. Justin Rios (North Central/Lemont, Ill.) singled to right scoring Quigley making it 1-0 Vikings. Anthony Rios (Lewis/Lemont, Ill.) grounded into a double play scoring Moore making it 2-0 Vikings.
MCL Pitcher of the Week Jake Karaba (Lewis/Naperville, Ill.) got the nod for the Vikings and had a scoreless first inning. The Oilmen started hitting Karaba in the second and third innings. Giving up one run in the second and four in the third. Giving the Oilmen a 5-2 lead entering the fourth.
The Vikings got back into the scoring column in the fourth after a single by Jake Schroeder (Northern Illinois/Flossmoor, Ill.) and Jason Reis (Illinois Wesleyan/Highland, Ind.) reaching on error advancing the runner to third. Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois/Homewood, Ill.) doubled to right bringing in one run to make it 5-3 Oilmen.
The bats continued for the Vikings at the top of the fifth. An A.Rios double and a Schroeder single resulted in runners on third and first with no outs. Dylan Robertson (Iowa Western/Downers Grove, Ill.) proved a vital at-bat doubling to center scoring Rios and Schroder tying the game at 5-5.
“We took outstanding swings, I think throughout the game we just kept making great contact with the ball,” Vikings manager Dave Letourneau said.
The Vikings continued the hot-hitting at the top of the sixth. McAlister drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second base on a groundout from Quigley. Moore hit a line drive to left field recording an RBI single scoring McAlister, for the first Vikings lead 6-5.
Letourneau would go to his bullpen to shut the Oilmen down. Nick Heiden (Webster/Burbank, Ill.) was the first Viking relief pitcher and threw two scoreless innings keeping the score at still entering the eighth inning. J.Rios came in for the eighth inning and set the Oilmen down one two three keeping the Vikings lead at one heading to the ninth.
Mike Tobin (Concordia/Palos Hills, Ill.) came into the ninth trying to record his fifth save of the season. Tobin got one quick out to start the ninth. The Oilmen used four consecutive singles including a two-RBI single to walk it off and defeat the Vikings 7-6.
“They’ve been great all year, hundred times out of hundred I’m putting Tobin in the ninth,” Letourneau said. “Tobin didn’t get shelled out there, they had cue shots and flairs, it's the name of the game. When you have chip shots that means the pitcher was confusing you out there. It went their way tonight and that’s just it.
The Vikings look to break their losing streak Saturday, July 18 as they face the DuPage County Hounds. The game will be at Central Park in Dyer, Ind. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. There will be no broadcast for the game but you can follow the Southland Vikings Twitter and Facebook page for live updates.
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