Logan Fleener’s perfect at the dish; Joliet Admirals’ late rally isn’t enough against the Southland Vikings

Story by:  Jay Sanchez

Win or lose, every team has a “player of the game.” Thursday, it was Quinn Ahern going six strong innings, and Friday, it was Jermaine Terry’s 3 for 4 night that included an RBI triple. Saturday, it was shortstop Logan Fleener going a perfect 3 for 3 with a run scored.

What made his superb night better than it already looked is that he was able to get two hits off of Vikings starting pitcher Evan Nietfeldt who had an excellent outing going six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out eight.

According to Fleener, Admirals manager Jorge Garza made an emphasis of driving the ball to the opposite field during batting practice which contributed to his success at the plate.

“I started to feel my swing again during [batting practice],” Fleener said. “I got a couple good fastballs to hit, and in my third at-bat, I got a changeup up and just threw my hands. It’s nice to see live pitching the last couple of days and get back on the field after a couple of weeks off.”

Fleener, who plays at Roane State Community College, will build off his three-hit night as he continues to emphasize his Midwest Collegiate League (MCL) reps to improve his offense.

“I want to get stronger at the plate,” he said. “Hopefully, turn those singles into doubles, and mainly just perfect my hands so that it’s an easy day.”

Despite his success offensively, the Admirals fell to 0-3 in the young MCL regular season after losing to the Vikings 7-4. They were able to cut into a 5-0 deficit by scoring four runs in the eighth inning after Robby Nunn relieved Nietfeldt. However, a costly Admirals fielding error in the ninth hurt their momentum as it led to two insurance runs for the Vikings.

“Really, sometimes when things are going good, you just have to keep it up, but sometimes the wheels will fall off which they did. We just have to respond in a better manner,” said coach Garza in an interview with Ryan Neiman.

The Admirals were able to score as many runs Saturday as they did their first two games combined. They were better at manufacturing runs this time around which is a good sign for the offense down the road.

Jermaine Terry continued his hot start to the season going 2 for 4 with a run scored. Michael Diviesti went 1 for 4 and drove home a pair of runs on a double. Also, Jeff Evak went 1 for 4 with three stolen bases and a run scored.

Fleener said he’s looking forward to have his former teammate James Roberts, outfielder Ryan Kent and pitcher Brenden Miller, who Fleener said is a “top-line arm,” to come back from injury and add depth to the roster. But as they nurse their injuries, the Admirals will have two chances to get into the win column Sunday as they host a doubleheader against the Chicago Zephyrs. First pitch at Wayne L. King Jr. Field is expected to start at 5 pm.

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