Baseball: Southland Vikings top Northwest Indiana Oilmen for fifth straight win
By Dave Melton For Sun-Times Media July 4, 2014 9:18PM
Oilmen's Larry Crisler slides into 2nd as the throw to the plate is too low at City Stadium on July 4, 2014. | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 5, 2014 6:27PM
WHITING, Ind. — Right now, the hottest team in the Midwest Collegiate League is the Southland Vikings.
They kept that moniker on Friday with their fifth straight victory, this time topping the Northwest Indiana Oilmen 7-3.
“We’ve been getting some good pitching and our bats have come alive lately,” Vikings manager Chris Cunningham said.
On this day, the pitching came from Rich Central graduate Tyler House, who earned his first win of the season (1-2). House needed just 87 pitches to go seven innings, allowing one run on two hits and zero walks while striking out six.
“I just wanted to stay focused and make sure I put my pitches in the right spot; I wasn’t trying to overpower them,” House said. “I was locating my fastball. My slurve was working, too. Whether I’m deep in the count or behind in a count I know I can throw that for a strike for sure.”
While House was keeping the Oilmen (15-9, 13-8 MCL) offense at bay, Southland (13-8 MCL) seemed to take advantage of every Oilmen mistake. The Oilmen made five errors on Friday, one night after taking advantage of five Lexington errors in a 9-1 victory Thursday night.
“It’s not easy,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said of having to overcome five errors on the mound. “Some pitchers let it get to them others can stay consistent no matter what. I’m proud of what Cameron (Linck) did today against a team that was swinging a hot bat.”
Linck, the Oilmen starting pitcher, allowed four runs (two earned) in seven innings. He took the loss largely because of those errors.
An unearned run crossed home plate in the first inning for Southland. Chase Fieldhouse tripled and scored in the second and Stefano Belmonte hit a solo homer in the fourth to give Southland a 3-0 lead.
Two unearned runs in the top of the eighth for Southland — part of a three-run rally — gave the Vikings a 6-2 lead.
Earlier this week, the MCL announced its lineups for Wednesday night’s All-Star Game, which will be held at Oil City Stadium. A total of 17 players from Friday’s game were included.
The Oilmen will be represented by Linck, Keith Mahler, Jimmy McNamara, Matt Pobereyko, Ryan Burvan, Nate Schneider, Craig Dedelow and Jason Gasser. The Vikings will be sending Brandon White, Kevin Hallberg, Dan Wetzel, Anthony Spangler, Bobby Shepard, Jeff Boehm, Dan Potempa, Brandon Mallder and Alex Lugo.