Whiting, Ind. – August 8, 2023 – The Southland Vikings struggled to find success against Tyler Laux as the Northwest Indiana Oilmen won Game 2 of their semifinal series 5-1 on Tuesday night to even the series 1-1.
The Vikings served as the home team at Oil City Stadium in Game 2 by hitting second, but it did not help against Laux who tossed all nine innings allowing just one unearned run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
The Oilmen took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single from Cain Headrick with two outs.
Southland answered back in the bottom of the first when Charlie Schau bunted the first pitch for a hit and advanced to second on a throwing error by Laux. Schau then moved to third on a groundout and came around to score when Caleb Rhodes singled up the middle to tie the game.
Northwest Indiana took the lead right back in the second inning as Jorgie Vazquez struggled with his control. After retiring the leadoff hitter, Vazquez could not record another out, walking two and hitting two in addition to a two-run single as the Oilmen took a 3-1 lead.
Jacob Cook inherited a bases loaded, one out situation and managed to sandwich a pair of strikeouts around an RBI single to limit the damage to a 4-1 Oilmen lead.
Cook did a great job of giving the Vikings length as he went 5 2/3 innings of one run ball to keep the score close and help save the bullpen for Game 3.
“That was his best performance of the year,” manager Sullivan Stickann said of Cook’s outing. “He was fearless today. He went in with a lot of confidence and played his game, not theirs.”
Mike Kelly and Elias Hachem each worked a scoreless inning to close out the game and cap a great outing by the bullpen.
The Vikings will return to Oil City Stadium on Wednesday for a winner-takes-all Game 3 starting at 7:10 pm. The winner will advance to the Northern League Championship Series to play the winner of the Corn Dogs-Panthers series.