By: Adam Johnson
With a little less than half a season left to play in the regular season, the Hounds find themselves starting to gain some steam. During a time when most teams seem to fade during the long dog days of summer, the Hounds currently find themselves riding an impressive four game winning streak after Sunday’s, 6-2 win over the Southland Vikings. The season-long battle for first place between the Hounds and their rival Oilmen has quickly dwindled away as the Oilmen have lost five of their last six games and find themselves at 15-12, three games behind DuPage for first place. After Sunday’s win, the Hounds currently hold a two and a half game lead over the 16-11, Lexington Snipes who have been playing great ball as of late, winning five out of their last six contests.
Sunday’s 6-2 win was much closer than the final score shows. The Vikings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the third inning until the Hounds scored two in the top half of the sixth. Southland tied it up in the bottom half of the eighth to make it two-all. Then, the Hounds broke it open in the ninth when they scored four runs. Despite being out hit ten to six, the Hounds found a way to score runs. The ultimate dagger for the Vikings was that they committed five team errors, which led to four unearned runs for the Hounds.
Red-hot Zac Taylor continues to find himself atop the Hounds lineup. He once again led the team in hits on the day, going two for five with two singles and a RBI. Trent Carrier hit out of his familiar three-hole and went one for four with a single.
Ryan Fitzgerald found himself reaching base in three out of his four at bats via the walk. Emerson Misch also tied for the team high in hits on the day, going two for three with two singles.
Billy Hayes locked down the back stop duties for the game while going one for four at the dish with a double that drove in a run. Dustin Krob reached base once on a walk where he would eventually come around and score. Bobby Wenthe drove in a RBI on a towering sac fly.
All-Star Nick Constantino took the mound for the first since the midseason break. He continues to put up All-Star numbers and solidify himself as a top guy in the Hounds rotation. His final Sunday line read five innings in which he gave up one run on six hits. The Hounds’ bullpen has seemed to be a bit of a revolving door the last few weeks, but they have found great success out of the new faces as of late. One of those newcomers, Kyle Sabie threw the next three and a third innings in which he gave up only one run on four hits. Trent Carrier strolled over from first base to retrieve the final two outs in the ballgame, which he did effortlessly on only two pitches.
Four Southland, Jacob Lane wielded the Viking’s big bat, going three for four with two singles and a double. Jeff Cardenas reached base three times in his five at bats on a walk and two singles. Chris Pikolaus went one for four with a single and was responsible for Southland’s lone RBI. Kendall King, Jesse Forestell, Tyler Johnson and Jake Hickey all reached base twice on a walk and a single.
The Vikings threw a new face of their own, Trevor Henderson who went a solid six and a third innings in which he allowed two runs, neither of which were earned, on four hits. The Hounds tagged Colton Lopez for the third time this season, grabbing three runs off of him in his two innings of work. Robert Nunn was handed the loss after giving up one run on one hit in his two-thirds of an inning.
The Hounds next contest is Wednesday, July 15th at the Lemont High School Sports Complex at 5:00 PM (CT) against the Michigan City Lakers. The Hounds currently lead that season series five games to one.
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