By: Sam Oppenheim
Joliet, Ill. - July 25, 2019 - Entering the top of the ninth, the Joliet Generals lead the DuPage County Hounds by two runs. By the start of the next half inning, the Generals trailed by two.
Four runs by the Hounds in the ninth propelled them to a 10-8 victory over Joliet.
For most of the game, the Generals had the upper hand. Starter Danny Wizceb (Triton College / Vernon Hills, Ill.) worked out of a bases loaded jam in the first with no damage done. In the second, Joliet tagged DuPage starter Andrew Padilla for five runs on five hits.
The Hounds did respond with three runs in the next inning to make it 5-3. The Generals proceeded to add another run to double up DuPage 6-3. Both teams scored a run in the fourth.
In the fifth, Wizceb again escaped with the bases full of Hounds. The right hander went five innings, allowing eight hits and four earned runs, while walking three and striking out five. Wizceb exited the contest in line for the win.
The score remained 7-4 until the eighth. In relief of Wizceb, Mark Blonski (Robert Morris - Illinois / Lake Zurich, Ill.) was solid. He threw two scoreless frames and surrendered two runs in the eighth. Blonski’s outing tonight was longer than all his other appearances this summer combined.
Up by just a run, Joliet oufielder Ben Jung (UW-Oshkosh / Downers Grove, Ill.) singled with one out. After a wild pitch and a groundout, Jung stood 90 feet away from being an important insurance run. Then, on a 1-2 pitch, Jung scored a pitch spiked in the dirt.
However, the extra run did not matter. Anthony Jerez (Robert Morris - Illinois / Brooklyn N.Y.) let up a leadoff single and then walked back-to-back batters on four pitches. With the bases loaded and nobody out, DuPage third baseman Cam Falk singled to score two and tie the game at eight. After a sac fly and a single, the Hounds jumped out to a 10-8 lead.
Needing two runs to tie, three to win, the Generals had a great chance to make a comeback. Joliet had runners on second and third with one out. But, DuPage reliever Grant Segar induced two consecutive flyouts to shut the door. After Padilla’s four innings, Segar went the final five, giving up one run on three hits and picking up the victory. Meanwhile, Jerez took the loss and a blown save. The Hounds stole this game from the Generals, by a score of 10-8.
The loss certainly stings for a Joliet team that is sitting on the outside looking in for the MCL Playoffs. It also helped DuPage moved up to third ahead of the Oilmen.
“We’re winding down a long season and we need to grind it out the rest of the way,” Generals manager Matt Vitulli said. “We need to keep doing what we’re doing and find a way.”
Joliet vies to return to the win column tomorrow night against the Southland Vikings. First pitch is at 5 p.m. from St. Rita HS. The game will be broadcasted on the Southland Vikings Broadcasting Network.
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