Big Inning and Control Issues Cost Vikings

By: Brandon Januska

Highland, Ind. – July 25, 2023 – In their final regular season game at Highland this year, the Southland Vikings could not overcome a big second inning and control issues late as they fell to the Indiana Panthers 13-9. 

The Vikings scored first with a run in the second inning after Matt Merk stole second base and Caleb Rhodes came in to score on the throw down to second. 

The Panthers responded in a big way in the bottom of the second, finding holes with hit after hit as they scored seven runs to chase Vikings starter Shemar Harris from the game. 

Each team then scored a pair of runs in the third inning with the Vikings getting a two-run single from Caleb Rhodes and the Panthers answering with a two-run homer by Kevin Bushnell to make the score 9-3. 

The score remained the same until the sixth inning when control issues arose. 

The Panthers scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning without recording a hit after five walks and two hit batters. 

The Vikings managed to get two runs back in the seventh inning and then control alluded the Panthers as the Vikings benefited from three straight walks to begin the eighth.

Three runs scored for the Vikings in the inning to bring the score to 13-9, but the game ended after the top of the eighth due to a 10pm curfew in Highland. 

Despite the loss, Vikings manager Sullivan Stickann was once again happy with the way his team hit, especially Caleb Rhodes who had four hits and three RBIs with a run scored after putting in some extra work in the batting cage before the game. 

“He was reaching a bit too much for the outside pitch, so we worked on seeing the ball deep outside,” Stickann said of the pregame work with Rhodes. “Definitely a bat that we would love to see get hot. If he can hit consistently, he will be a big part of this lineup.” 

The Vikings will try to snap a two-game skid as they head to Oil City Stadium on Wednesday to take on the Oilmen. First pitch is at 7:10pm.

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