Baseball: Southland Vikings roll 12-3 over City Lakers
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media July 7, 2014 9:14PM
Updated: July 8, 2014 2:12AM
Chris Cunningham, the manager of the Southland Vikings, loves all of baseball’s little nuances.
The hit-and-run, the pitching changes, laying down a bunt to move a runner over.
For a week-plus now, well, Cunningham hasn’t had to do much of that. He just sets his lineup and lets the Vikings do the rest.
Continuing their assault on pitching staffs anywhere and everywhere, Southland rolled to a 12-3 non-league win Monday night over the City Lakers (Michigan City, Indiana) at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
“As a coach, it’s very easy to coach because I can sit back and watch them rake (at the plate),” Cunningham said. “It’s been outrageous, just awesome. Guys are really putting together a lot of good at-bats.”
Southland has scored an unheard of 107 runs over the team’s last nine games, all wins.
The Vikings didn’t change the formula Monday, getting contributions from up and down the order, including a nine-run fifth inning.
“We knew we’d click sooner or later (offensively), but we’re glad it’s happening in July,” Southland’s Chase Fieldhouse said. “It looks good, and it is fun playing with these guys.”
Fieldhouse went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, two RBI and two runs.
Stefano Belmonte kept on tearing the cover off the ball. His grand slam in the fifth gave the Vikings a 7-3 lead. Belmonte added an RBI single in the sixth, giving him 11 RBI over the last three games.
The St. Rita product hit a grand slam, as well as a walk-off single, in Sunday’s 7-6 win over Joliet.
“I’ve made a little tweak in my swing, just starting my swing later,” Belmonte said. “I was a little anxious earlier, but now I’m seeing that ball get deep and it’s made a big difference.”
Brandon Mallder (2 RBI), Bobby Sheppard (RBI, run), Kendall King (RBI) and Micah Rooke (RBI) also contributed for the Vikings.
The Midwest Collegiate League will hold its All-Star Game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Indiana. Southland will return to action Friday against the Lakers.
“With this team, that break might make us better,” Fieldhouse said. “That’s scary. We’ll be ready to play after that break.”