Baseball: Southland Vikings sweep doubleheader from Joliet Admirals
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media July 6, 2014 7:00PM
The Southland Vikings Dan Potempa watches his line drive head toward the fence against the Joliet Admirals, July 6, 2014. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 7, 2014 2:11AM
Southland’s Stefano Belmonte is feeling it at the plate.
For that matter, all the Vikings are, the team locked in on a ridiculously hot hitting rampage.
Belmonte’s walk-off single capped a doubleheader sweep Sunday of Joliet Admirals, the Vikings winning 21-0 and 7-6 in the Midwest Collegiate League at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
“We’ve got dominating hitters in our lineup with power and speed,” Belmonte said. “We’ve got contact. We’ve got it all, just a lot of talent, and we’ve got to use it. It’s coming together of late.”
Has it ever for Southland (16-8), winner of eight in a row. In those eight wins, the Vikings have totaled 95 runs.
“It’s a lot of guys getting hot at the right time, where it’s contagious,” Vikings coach Chris Cunningham said. “The guys know they can hit. It’s been like we can’t miss.”
The hot-hitting continued Sunday.
In the nightcap, Belmonte’s third-inning grand slam staked the Vikings to a 6-3 lead. Joliet (5-20) chipped away, tying things at 6 in the sixth, only to see Belmonte hit a walk-off single, scoring Micah Rooke, in the bottom of the seventh,
On most days, a walk-off winner would have been the ultimate highlight, but not on this day.
The Vikings were unstoppable offensively in Game 1, ripping 22 hits and stringing together an 11-run third inning.
“It’s been unreal,” Southland’s Bobby Sheppard said. “Coach fills out the lineup and just says, ‘Wow.’ It’s fun to play like this. Anything can happen. Fun to watch when everyone is hitting in the right spot.”
Sheppard had a two-run homer, three RBI and two runs in Game 1, with Rooke adding four RBI, including a three-run home run, and two runs.
Chris Sujka (2 runs), Brandon Mallder (3 runs), Jeff Boehm and Belmonte all added two RBI in the laugher. Dan Potempa scored four times.
“Everyone is seeing the ball great,” Sheppard said. “We’ve had tough games with (Joliet), so I don’t know what it is. Everyone is looking to take their hacks, and everything is going great right now.”
T.F. South product Kevin Hallberg got the win in the opener, tossing a complete-game shutout. Over seven innings he allowed four hits while walking three and striking out four.
Southland wraps up the first half of the season with a non-league game at 5:30 p.m. Monday against the visiting Michigan City Lakers. The MCL All-Star Game is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Whiting, Indiana.
“We’re hot right now and want to keep rolling,” Belmonte said. “We’ll be hot after the break.”