By: Adam Johnson
Game 1 vs. Southland Vikings
After having the last three days off, the Hounds’ were itching to get back on the field and attempt to break out of their mid-season funk that saw them drop two of three games last weekend. The Hounds’ were excited to see that Southland was next up on the schedule thanks to their early season success against the Vikings. Game one was a great battle between both teams from beginning to end. Both sides of the ball played a near flawless game until the Hounds’ edged the out the Vikings in the bottom half of the ninth in walk off fashion.
Zac Taylor lead off game one for the Hounds where he had a game high three hits in four at bats, all of which were singles. He also scored the first run of the ball game and stole his third base of the season.
Joe Duncan slid down one in the order from his usual leadoff spot into the two-hole where he went one for four with a single and ended up scoring the game-winning run in the ninth.
The defensive wizard himfself, Matt Wollnik, has seen his bat catch up to his incredible glove lately, forcing manager Sean Osborne to slot him in the three-hole for the first time this season. Wollnik did not disappoint as he went two for four with two singles and a drove in one the Hounds’ three RBIs.
Ryan Fitzgerald reached base twice in his four at bats on a line drive single and walk. Third baseman Richie Gorksi also reached base twice in his four trips to the plate by drawing two walks.
The right-handed half of the Hounds’ catching tandem, Billy Hayes, had another great day at the dish going two for four with a single and a double off the wall. He also picked up his second stolen bag of the season.
The Hounds’ hottest bat right now might belong to Bobby Wenthe who had another huge day, reaching base three times in four plate appearances with a walk, single and a double that drove in the Hounds’ second run of the ball game.
The hero of the day was Michael Wisz, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive substitution. He stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with a man on second and third and ripped a screaming line drive into the left-center gap that easily plated the game-winning run. When Wisz was asked about his game winning hit after the game he simply said, “I needed that, I really needed that one.”
The trio of Hounds’ pitchers collectively threw another great ballgame. Tom Concklin started the game off by going five strong innings, allowing one run on only two hits while striking out four. Chris Grazioli was the first to come appear in relief and he went two and one thirds innings, allowing one run on two hits. Nick Alfini finished out the last inning and two-thirds, allowing no runs on three hits while striking out one.
For Southland, Luis Avila led his team in hits with two, both of which were singles. Jeff Cardenas, Cody Haver, Clark Brinkman and Matt Cole all had one hit which happened to be a double. Jake Hickey reached base once in his three plate appearances on a single
Matt Sandoval started for the Vikings and threw a solid five innings, allowing only one run on five hits while striking out two. Justin Freeman came on in relief where he went three innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out two. Colton Lopez was the Viking pitcher that the Hounds finally broke into as he allowed three straight hits and the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Game 2 vs. Southland Vikings
The Hounds’ could not seem to keep the walk-off momentum rolling into game two as their bats were quickly silenced, going from 12 hits in game one to only six hits in game two. The opposite rang true for the Vikings as they saw their bats pick up, increasing their hit total from seven in game one to eleven in game two.
Zac Taylor found himself back in the leadoff sport for the Hounds where he went one for four with a single, a RBI and a run scored. The lone other run was drive in by Richie Gorski who was also one for four in the game with a single.
Michael Wisz saw his name in the game two lineup after his walk off single where he went one for four with a single. Outfielder Emerson Misch had one of the six Hounds’ hits as he went one for three on the day with a single.
Ryan Taylor, the younger brother of Zac, took the hill for the third time this season where he went the first five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out two. He also went one for two at the plate with a booming double off of the wall. Matt Wollnik was the first to appear in relief, marking his first appearance on the mound this season where he went a stellar two innings, allowing no runs on one hit while striking out one. Ethan Gasbarro came on next where he went one inning, surrendering no runs on one hit while striking out one. Newcomer Joe Palasiewicz threw a perfect three up three down ninth, striking out one batter.
For Southland, the offensive leader was again Luis Avila who picked up another three hits in four appearances, driving in one RBI. Clark Brinkman picked up two more hits, one of which was a double that drove in two. Mike Cole, Cody Haver, Chris Pikoulas, Jeff Cardenas, Jake Hickey and Jordan Jackson all each picked up singles, rounding out the Vikings 11 hits.
John Swisher started the game for Southland, going five strong innings where he only allowed one run on four hits while striking out one. Mitch Prickett threw the remaining four innings where he surrendered no runs on two hits while striking out two.
The Hounds’ (11-6) next contest will take place Saturday, June 27th against the Michigan City Lakers (4-11) at the Lemont High School Athletic Complex at 1:00 PM (CT). The Hounds’ currently lead the season series 2-0 so the Lakers will be eager to seek some mid-season revenge on the first place Hounds.
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