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Baseball: Anthony Spangler entrenched as Southland Vikings closer

Anthony Spangler anchors bullpen as Vikings closer. For Game One Midwest Collegiate League playoffs Tuesday July 29th 2014 Flossmoor. |

Anthony Spangler anchors the bullpen as the Vikings closer. For Game One of the Midwest Collegiate League playoffs, Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, in Flossmoor. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 31, 2014 6:28AM



Those final three outs can be the trickiest.

Heck, maybe even the final six outs.

The Southland Vikings’ Anthony Spangler wants that challenge. He wants to close out the game with authority.

“I like being the closer, showing up to every game and not knowing when you’ll throw,” Spangler said. “It’s fun having that pressure. I’m good when the pressure is on.”

Spangler, a T.F. South grad, has served as closer this season for the Vikings, the top seed in the Midwest Collegiate League playoffs.

He’s excelled in the role, giving up just four earned runs over 132/3 innings entering Tuesday night’s playoff opener. The hard-throwing right-hander totaled four saves and 19 strikeouts in nine regular-season appearances.

His summer success comes after a rocky spring.

After two seasons at John A. Logan College in downstate Carterville, Spangler transferred to Purdue Calumet for the Peregrines’ inaugural season as a baseball program.

The results? Frustrating on an almost daily basis as the Peregrines went a disappointing 5-24.

“It was a pretty rough season where we lost a lot of guys to eligibility, lost a bunch of close games,” Spangler said. “We would go up big, but our staff just wasn’t deep enough. We were so young with lots of freshmen.”

Spangler was 1-3 with a plus-5.00 ERA and two complete games.

He kept at it, though, and is looking forward to his senior season, with Vikings teammates Mike Poulos and Micah Rooke also expected to be key contributors for the Peregrines.

“We’re going to come back next year stronger,” Spangler said. “I want to be part of it and help the team win.”

In the meantime, Spangler is focused on helping the Vikings go for back-to-back MCL titles. He’s back in a comfort zone as a closer and couldn’t be happier.

During his sophomore season at Logan, Spangler went 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA and team-leading three saves.

“I’ve got a good feel for my slider right now, and I’ve got that feeling that any time out there I can strike a couple of guys out,” Spangler said. “I’m fully confident in my fastball and my slider, and that’s what you want. You have to be confident in your stuff (as a closer).”

And though the spring season was difficult to swallow, the work paid off. Spangler isn’t just a one-inning closer, as he showed in a gutsy three-inning relief performance July 16. In that game he earned the win in a 6-5 conquest of Joliet, allowing a run on two hits with five strikeouts.

“As the year went on we had that feeling,” Spangler said. “We knew we’d get better.”



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