Mike “Sizzle” DiCola (#28) held the Vikings to 2 hits no runs in his first appearance to a Hounds event in 2021 (excepting a two hour late showing to a practice after an Illini March Madness loss). The lefty struck out 4 in 5 innings as his teammates cobbled together 4 runs to secure the win.
The game started late owing to a freight train that backed up traffic for nearly 20 minutes, holding up half the Hounds team as well as the umpire. When the train finally cleared and the game started, the Hounds defense played solidly, turning in only 1 error on 7 innings of play and making many tough plays look easy. In the third inning, the Hounds caught a break with a Viking on third base when a Kiefer (#99, 1B) to DiCola put-out was successful as the runner was ruled to have missed first base on the play, ending the inning. This lucky break was parlayed into two runs for the Hounds in the following frame, thanks to a 2 RBI clutch line drive single by Arron Kruse (#11, 3B). Defensive play of the game would come in the fourth inning. With the Vikings within two runs and men on first and second, DiCola rolled a grounder back to the mound, turned for one out to second baseman Joe Malafronte (#22, 2B) who tossed it for a key Kiefer scoop for a 1-4-3 double play. The Hounds added some cushion in the 6th thanks to a Tim Riggenbach (#8, LF) 2-RBI single. Brian Lehman (#2, RF/P) recorded the six-out save, surviving a late no-outs-runners-on-first-and-second scare and long, long gone foul ball by a Viking stud hitter. Fearlessly, Lehman turned that at-bat into a pop-out, followed up with a strike out, and finished with an over the shoulder touch pass to Kruse off the bat of the Vikings seven hitter for the last out of the game.
The Hounds improved their record to 2-1 and will face the Garcias and the Trojans on Saturday afternoon at Maywood.