The DuPage County Hounds (23-11) saw their season-long Midwest Collegiate League lead dwindle to half a game after a brutal doubleheader at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. In the first game, the Lexington Snipes jumped ahead early to defeated the deflated Hounds 7-2. In the nightcap, a four-run lead evaporated after a six-run 8th that saw the Southland Vikings win 7-5.
The Hounds played as home team in game one, facing the Snipes in a makeup of a matchup that was washed out of Benedictine. In the afternoon affair, DuPage ran into an unstoppable Matthew James-Mitch Vogrin combination, which sunk starter Bob Kametas and the Hound hitters.
James drove in five of Lexington’s seven runs, including three on a line drive home run that cleared the right field fence in the 5th. He finished 3-4 with the homer, two doubles, three runs, and five RBIs.
The offense backed up the stellar pitching of Mitch Vogrin, who tossed eight scoreless innings to earn the win for the Purple Ones. Vogrin scattered eight hits, walking one and striking out eight on 118 pitches. His most impressive inning was his last, when all 17 of his pitches went for strikes.
Alex Cain and Clayton Johannes put up a fight in the bottom of the 9th, scoring the only two DuPage runs of the game. Johannes finished 3-4 with an RBI double. Connor Kopach picked up the other RBI after getting plunked with the bases loaded.
The Powder Blues’ fortunes looked better in the second game when they pounced on Southland starter Dan Wetzel for three unearned runs in the top of the 1st. The 3-0 lead looked promising for Trent Carrier, who allowed just one run through his first seven innings. Carrier retired 12 Vikings in a row from the 3rd to the 6th.
DuPage added a run in the 5th thanks to Connor Kopach’s speed. Kopach led off with a single, stole second and third base (giving him three swiped bags for the evening), and scored on Richie Gorski’s double to make it 4-0.
Carrier tired in the 8th and the wheels fell off for the cruising Hounds. Carrier exited after a single, walk, and Jeff Boehm double off the high center field wall. Reliever Tyler Hasper failed to record an out, walking two, serving a two-run double to Micah Rooke, and hitting Alex Lugo in his 14 pitches. Nick McKinney relieved Hasper, gave up a single, hit a guy, and walked in another run. When the fires finally died down, the Vikings turned a 5-1 deficit into a 7-5 lead.
The Hounds had their chance in the top of the 9th as Stewart Nelson and Johannes hit back-to-back singles. Kopach flew out and Drew LaComb reached on a botched groundball by shortstop Jerry Houston. The rally ended as quickly as it started, as Richie Gorski grounded into a double play to end the game. It was Gorski’s strikeout that closed out the Hounds in game one as well.
Five games into their seven-in-six stretch, DuPage County is just 2-3. With a 23-11 record, the Hounds are just half a game ahead of Southland (22-11) with just over a week to go. DuPage stays on the road Saturday night for a return engagement with the NWI Oilmen in Whiting. That game starts at 7:10 and will be streamed online at dupagehounds.com. The Hounds are back at home on Sunday against the rival Vikings.
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