Southland plated seven runs in the 4th inning and Dan Wetzel went into lockdown mode as the Hounds dropped the first game of the Midwest Collegiate League Championship series 11-3 to the Vikings at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
Up 3-1 in the bottom of the 4th, Bob Kametas got Dan Potempa to ground out on the first pitch. The Vikings struck back fiercely and knocked Kametas out after a double and two walks. Nick Alfini came on in relief and failed to retire any of his five hitters. After one more run came in off of Ryan Hinchley, Southland held a 9-3 lead.
Two more Viking runs came across in the 5th, capped by a Bobby Sheppard sac fly, which gave the game its final margin. Sheppard finished 2-3 with a run and four RBIs to take home player of the game honors.
Supplied with this La-Z-Boy-esque cushion, Dan Wetzel settled down from a jumpy start to mow the Hounds down through the 8th inning. Wetzel allowed three runs on eight hits through his eight frames, walking one and striking out eight on 103 pitches. He would allow just two hits, both singles, over his final five innings.
The Hounds got the scoring going in the top of the 2nd when Alex Cain led off with a double. Two batters later, Richie Gorski laced a single into center to score Cain and make it 1-0.
The Vikings got the run back in the bottom of the 2nd on Potempa’s solo home run, the only Southland dinger of the game. Trent Carrier gave the Hounds their own round-tripper in the 3rd with a solo shot to make it 2-1. After Cain drew a two-out walk, Brian Lees ripped a triple to make it 3-1 for the visitors, their high water mark of the evening.
Christian Bokich tossed three scoreless innings of relief to keep DuPage County from falling behind by double digits. He struck out four and gave up two hits.
The loss puts Southland one win away from their second consecutive MCL championship. With their backs against the wall, DuPage County returns home for their final home game of the season. Game 2 is tomorrow night at the Dog Pound. First pitch is at 6:00, and the gates open at 5:00. For those of you who can’t make it, Will DeBoer will provide play-by-play coverage on UStream at dupagehounds.com/news/broadcasts.
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