By: Brandon Vickrey
Joliet, Ill. – July 17, 2019 – All of the work that went into erasing a seven-run deficit disappeared in the blink of an eye for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on a wacky Wednesday at Wayne L. King Junior Field.
The Generals scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to walk off with an 11-10 win over the Oilmen in a game that was shortened due to darkness. The game-winning rally featured no hits, three walks, a hit batter and a walk-off wild pitch.
“I wish somebody could have found the zone and made them swing the bat,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “They got some hits, but they weren’t hitting us. It was a matter of who walked more batters today. Our pitchers didn’t have enough confidence to throw the ball over the plate. We’re swinging the bats well, but we wasted a really good offensive effort with mistakes on the bases and an inability to throw strikes.”
Joliet’s Bryant Diel belted a grand slam in the bottom of the first, then the Generals tacked on four more in the fourth. Joliet (11-11) owned a 9-2 lead through four innings, but the Oilmen scored eight unanswered runs to grab a 10-9 advantage.
Hunter Ryan (Purdue Northwest / Hebron, Ind.) was at the center of the Oilmen comeback as he ripped a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at nine before delivering a go-ahead hit in the top of the eighth to give NWI (16-13) its first lead of the game.
“Every time he hits a home run, he goes into a slump because he tries to lift the ball to the right side,” Tyrrell said. “After a tough stretch, he started looking away and was flat through the hitting zone today. Let’s hope he sticks with it.”
The Oilmen scored three in the fifth and four in the sixth thanks in part to a Joliet pitching staff that issued four walks and hit six Oilmen batters in the game. But it was the Oilmen pitching that gave up the most free passes, walking 11 and hitting two.
The Oilmen banged out 13 hits and played error-free defense as four players enjoyed multi-hit outputs. Six members of the starting lineup were replaced mid-game in a planned line change of sorts on a warm night in Joliet that featured a game-time temperature of 91 degrees.
“It was a hot day and we’re in the middle of a week where we’ve got a big stretch at the end of the season,” Tyrrell said. “I wanted to make sure everybody stayed healthy and fresh.”
The Oilmen will face the Southland Vikings on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Howie Minas Field in Midlothian, Ill. Please note the time and location change from the original schedule. In addition, the game on Sunday, July 21 between the Oilmen and Vikings has been moved to Sunday, July 28 as part of a doubleheader (two seven-inning games) at 1 p.m. at St. Rita High School. Friday night’s game at Howie Minas can be viewed on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live with Blake Toman and Will Trubshaw on the call.
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