By: Blake Toman
The DuPage County Hounds were undefeated against the Oilmen coming into the July 15 matchup, but a combination of solid hitting and impressive pitching helped the Oilmen hand the Hounds an 11-5 loss in nine innings.
Connor Oliver (Wichita St. / Oak Forest, Ill.) took the mound for the Oilmen and got off to a rocky start, allowing the Hounds to take a two run lead in the bottom of the first inning on just one hit, one error, and four walks. However, he would settle down in the bottom of the second and hold the DuPage County Hounds scoreless for the next five innings, giving up only three more hits and striking out seven batters.
“Oliver was trying too hard to place the pitches perfectly on the corner, which is understandable given how good DuPage’s bats have been this season,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “But Berenda was able to get him to focus and throw strikes over the plate and he was able to bounce back after a rough first inning.”
Oliver would be helped by an invigorated Oilmen offense that put up 15 hits and 11 runs in nine innings, including a four-run third inning and a three-run seventh inning. Patrick Doran (South Suburban College / Evergreen Park, Ill.) and Ben Berenda (Indiana University-Southeast / Rensselaer, Ind.) would play a large part offensively, notching three RBIs each. Doran also went 3-4 with all three hits going for extra-bases.
“When we’ve played the Hounds before, the bounces seemed to not go our way,” Tyrrell said. “But today the bounces went our way and the fresh bats certainly helped the cause. It was our third time seeing Andersen, so we were able to see the ball better and hit well.”
After Oliver gave up a two-run home run to Hounds catcher Ben Snapp (Richmond, Ky. / Eastern Illinois University), reliever Max Franklin (Illinois State University / Chicago Heights, Ill.) would come in to close out the game for the Oilmen. He went two and a third innings while striking out two and giving up only one run on a Scott Jones (Sulphur, La. / Louisiana State University-Eunice) solo home run in the bottom of the ninth.
The Oilmen now have sole possession of second place in the Midwest Collegiate League and move to just one and a half games back of the Southland Vikings. The Oilmen’s next game is against the Joliet Generals at Wayne L. King Jr. Field on Wednesday, July 17 at 5:00 p.m. Brandon Vickrey, Sam Oppenheim, and Blake Toman will have the call on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Broadcasting Network, accessible via Facebook Live.
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