Baseball: Southland Vikings overpower DuPage County Hounds 19-8
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Ties Media June 28, 2014 7:12PM
Updated: June 29, 2014 2:13AM
“We can’t hit.”
Southland coach Chris Cunningham kept it simple in assessing his team’s performance over the previous week that saw the Vikings score a combined five runs in three losses.
Whatever bug was in the Vikings’ system offensively, it was gone by Saturday.
Pounding out 17 hits, including four home runs, Southland rolled to a 19-8 slugfest win over the visiting DuPage County Hounds at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in a Midwest Collegiate League game.
The start of Saturday’s game was delayed almost two hours because of morning rain.
“After sitting there (waiting), we came out with some energy,” Southland’s Stefano Belmonte said. “That’s all we really need, just a little spark for our lineup.”
Belmonte’s three-run home run to left-center put the Vikings up 3-1 through one inning. For a team looking for that big hit, Belmonte’s dinger opened the floodgates.
“The energy was definitely up (Saturday),” Southland’s Brandon Mallder said. “Guys were more relaxed and not pressing to get hits. We’ve been struggling lately, and that really did get us going.”
Southland (9-8), which snapped its losing streak at three, scored three runs in four different innings, including seven in the seventh.
Nine different players had at least one RBI, with Belmonte and Chris Sujka (3-run homer) leading the way with four apiece. Bobby Sheppard went 4-for-6 with a two-run homer, three RBI and four runs.
Batting in the leadoff spot, Mallder finished 4-for-6 with three runs and two RBI.
“I felt good, and I wasn’t missing pitches when I got my pitch to hit,” Mallder said. “I wasn’t swinging at bad pitches, and that helped a lot.”
Rob Cifelli (3 runs), Jerry Houston (2-run homer, 2 runs), and Mark Munizzi (solo homer) also contributed.
“Once I got that home run in the first inning, it was like everyone else jumped on board,” Belmonte said. “We were piecing balls all day throughout the whole lineup.”
Brandon White gutted his way through seven innings to get the mound win, allowing five runs on 10 hits with seven strikeouts.
DuPage County dropped to 16-5.
Southland will play the Lexington Snipes at 1 p.m. Sunday at H-F.