Command Problems Plague Joliet in Loss to Panthers

By: Sam Oppenheim
Jordan Baker pitching against the Oilmen back on June 16

Joliet, Ill. - June 22, 2019 - On just eight hits, the Crestwood Panthers scored 11 runs. However, the Panthers had no extra-base hits. Instead, they were the benefactors of 11 walks and eight batters who were hit by a pitch, courtesy of Joliet Generals pitching.

Command and accuracy issues hurt the Generals, who fell 11-3 to Crestwood tonight.

Jordan Baker (McKendree University / South Holland, Ill.) struggled from the get-go with command. Baker began the game walking the bases loaded. Another walk and a single put the Panthers up 2-0 after the first. A third run scored in the next inning after two base on balls.

In 3 ⅓ innings and 93 pitches, Baker gave up three runs on six walks and two hit batters. Joliet pitching did not get better from there. The following three Generals pitchers combined for 11 free passes.

Meanwhile, it was the opposite story for the Panthers. Eddie Wilkins mowed down the Generals lineup, going seven strong innings and allowing three hits and three runs. All of those runs came from Rocco Pascente (College of DuPage / Plainfield, Ill.) launching a long bomb in the sixth.

“He hung a 1-1 curveball and I turned on it,” Pascente said. “I was a little out in front and it carried.”

Outside of Pascente’s long shot, two doubles by Connor Olson (Illinois Wesleyan / Wheaton, Ill.) in the first and third were the only hits for Joliet.

While both the offense and pitching struggled, the effort on the mound was certainly more problematic.

“Bottom line is we’re not attacking the zone,” Generals manager Matt Vitulli said. “We need to pound the zone.”

After tonight’s contest, Joliet has only played nine games. That total is lowest in the Midwest Collegiate League by four games. Vitulli knows the inconsistent schedule has hurt their continuity as a squad.

“I still think we’re still trying to figure ourselves out as a team,” Vitulli said. “It’s tough to do that when you only have one game here, one game there.”

Next up for the Generals is a doubleheader tomorrow against the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. The games begin at 1 and 3 p.m. at Wayne King Field. Both matchups will be broadcasted on Northwest Indiana Oilmen Broadcasting Network. 


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