By: Sam Oppenheim
Joliet, Ill. - July 17, 2019 - In a game that featured 23 free bases, it was fitting that the team who pitched last took the loss.
Tonight, the Joliet Generals beat the Northwest Indiana Oilmen 11-10 in eight innings after a walk-off wild pitch.
Only ten days earlier, Oilmen starter Jordan Petty grabbed his first victory of the summer, scattering four runs across 6 ⅔ innings of work against the Generals.
Petty was bombarded early on. After sending the first two batters down on just three pitches, Petty gave up a single from infielder Danny Borgstrom (University of Evansville / Morris, Ill.) and proceeded to walk back-to-back batters. With the bases loaded, outfielder Bryant Diel (Triton College / South Elgin, Ill.) stepped in.
“[Petty] made a mistake pitch,” Diel said. “He gave me an inside fastball and I attacked.”
The towering grand slam was the first of the season for the Generals. Petty was knocked out after three innings down 5-1. NWI tallied a run in the top of the fourth, and Joliet had a counter.
With the bases load once again, catcher Devin Buckner (Morehead State / Lexington, Ky.) cleared them all with a double to the fence.
“I saw him shake twice and he had shaken twice in other at-bat, so I sat on a curveball on the inner half,” Buckner said.
Up 9-2 after four, the Generals were in a great state. However, Jake Meyer (Roosevelt College / Barrington, Ill.) was knocked out after giving up three runs in the next inning. It could’ve been much worse, as Diel made a fantastic grab in right that saved an extra-base hit.
“That play probably saved in the game in all honesty,” Joliet manager Matt Vitulli said.
Meyer's replacement, Anthony Jerez (Robert Morris - Illinois / Brooklyn N.Y.), could not record an out and was tagged for one run before he left the game with the bases juiced. Seth Quick (Triton College / Lombard, Ill.) worked out of the sixth, but not before letting in Jerez’s three baserunners.
“[Quick] comes in with the bases loaded a lot,” Buckner said. “I told him to just trust your stuff and you’ll get out of it and he did.”
Quick kept the game remained level at nine through seven innings. Before the eighth, it was announced the eighth would be the last inning because of increasing darkness.
The Oilmen finally got to Quick, as Jackson Dvorak’s one-out RBI single put his team out in front. But, Northwest Indiana stranded the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the frame, Oilmen right hander Anthony Hernandez walked the first two batters and hit the third. After a Generals strikeout, a walk brought in the tying run. Five pitches later, Buckner walked it off for Joliet on a Hernandez wild pitch.
“Nine innings in the MCL is a rollercoaster,” Vitulli said. “There’s a lot of ups and downs and it’s all about minimizing the damage.”
The win moves Joliet to .500 once again, sitting at 11-11 on the summer. Next up, the Generals have two days off before facing the Bloomington Bobcats on Saturday.
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