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Baseball: Southland Vikings nick Joliet 6-5

With a better count, Southland’s Chase Fieldhouse said things might not have gone so well.

But in this situation, he welcomed that two-strike count working against him.

And with the winning run on second base in a tie game, Fieldhouse embraced that spotlight.

“Two strikes, and to be honest, if I had less than that, I’m trying to do too much,” Fieldhouse said. “I’m better when I stay back and let the ball get to me. Two-strike approach, I just put it out there.”

Fieldhouse ripped a single to the gap in left field, with Steve Letz easily scoring from second to give Southland a 6-5 walk-off win Wednesday night over Joliet at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in a Midwest Collegiate League game.

With a thin pitching staff, Anthony Spangler threw a gutsy three innings in relief in earning the win. The T.F. South product gave up a run on two hits with five strikeouts.

The ninth inning drama came after the Vikings (19-11) squandered a 4-1 lead, eventually trailing 5-4 in the eighth. Heading into the final week-plus of the regular season, the comeback win is hopefully a sign of things to come.

“It shows true character on our team,” Fieldhouse said. “We don’t give up until the last pitch. That last inning, two guys on and no outs, we should play every inning like that. We should take that approach every inning.”

Fieldhouse finished 4-for-5. Southland totaled three home runs, a two-run bomb by Bobby Sheppard and solo shots by Brandon Mallder and Jeff Boehm.

The Vikings stranded seven runners over the first five innings, but still managed a 4-1 lead.

“It felt like we were up a lot more,” Sheppard said. “We’re hitting good, but the home runs are solo or just one guy on. We didn’t pile on as many runs as we thought. We came back when we had to.”

Sheppard continued his offensive assault, the two-run dinger his fifth of the season.

“I’m feeling good, lifting more trying to get a little pop in the bat,” Sheppard said. “I’m still trying to go gap to gap, just stay on it and drive the ball.”

Starter Richard Fordon (Mount Carmel) threw 52/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and five walks with three strikeouts.

Joey Anderson had two RBI for Joliet (5-21).



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