By: Sam Oppenheim
Whiting, Ind. - July 7, 2019 - It was very fitting that the Joliet Generals four game winning streak was snapped today in a game that left them frustrated.
The Generals fell 8-4 to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen this afternoon after a contest that had many ups and downs.
Joliet struck first scoring twice in the top of the first. However, NWI starter Jordan Petty got stronger as the game went on against the visitors.
“Their pitcher did a good job making an adjustment to our hitters,” Generals manager Matt Vitulli said.
Petty picked up the victory, pitching 6 ⅔ innings and giving up four runs. It was the opposite case for Generals starter Danny Wizceb (Triton College / Vernon Hills, Ill.) who had a good first inning but ran into some problems in the second. After getting the first two batters out in the inning, Wizceb offered up a walk. After an Oilmen double and single, outfielder Clay Thompson launched a three-run homer.
The long ball proved to be unfortunate for Wizceb again in the fourth, when he gave up a solo home run. Three of the five hits he gave up over five innings were extra-base hits.
The Generals did manage to stay in the game, as Ben Jung (UW-Oshkosh / Downers Grove, Ill.) doubled to score Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois / Homewood, Ill.). That cut the lead to 5-4 in favor of NWI in the top of the seventh.
McAlister and Jung, the number one and two hitters respectively today, had tremendous performances. McAlister scored three times thanks to two walks and a hit by pitch. He also had a single and stole four bases. Meanwhile, Jung was 2-4 with a double, single and walk.
However, things unraveled in the bottom of the frame. With a runner on second and two outs and an 1-2 count on NWI’s Hunter Ryan, Johnluca Moschetto (Carthage College / LaGrange Highlands, Ill.) threw a curveball that looked like strike three. Catcher Rocco Pascente (College of DuPage / Plainfield, Ill.) threw the ball back to the mound thinking the inning was over as Ryan began walking back to the dugout. To the surprise of everyone, the pitch was called a ball and much to the chagrin of the Joliet faithful, multiple close pitches in the same at bat were subsequently called balls. Ryan ended up working a walk. The next batter hit an RBI double to give Northwest Indiana a big insurance run, leading 6-4 at the point.
In the next half inning, Joliet felt robbed again, as Connor Olson (Elgin CC / Wheaton, Ill.) was picked off first despite seemingly diving back to the base well ahead of the tag. The Generals ended up stranding two runners in the inning. Vitulli was level-headed in discussing how his team needed to address the adversity.
“We need to control what we can control,” Vitulli said.
Later, the Oilmen added two more in the eighth to pick up an 8-4 win. The loss snaps Joliet’s four game winning streak, having previously won six of their last seven.
The Generals look to bounce back on Wednesday against the DuPage County Hounds at Wayne King Field. First pitch is at 5 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on the Joliet Generals Broadcasting Network.
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