By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – July 30, 2019 – Whether he was standing on the rubber or in the batter’s box, Patrick Doran (South Suburban College / Evergreen Park, Ill.) did everything he could to keep the Oilmen in the game on Tuesday night at Oil City Stadium.
But his efforts were not enough as Joliet earned a wild 8-7 win to kick off the final week of regular season Midwest Collegiate League action.
Doran pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth for the Oilmen and retired all nine men he faced. He started the game at first base and finished the day with a three-hit showing, upping his season batting average to .471 over 12 games.
“He’s a ballplayer; he can do it all,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “I wish I had two of him so he could play first while he pitches. He went out there on a day where the rest of our pitching staff made it look impossible to throw strikes, and proved that it was possible. He was a good example of how to get outs. He threw it over the plate and made them put the ball in play. He put up three zeroes and probably would have put up another one if we tied it up. He was doing everything we needed from him for us to win, and I wish we didn’t waste that effort.”
The Oilmen played from behind early when starting pitcher Brandon Laux (Kirkwood CC / Chicago, Ill.) issued four walks and hit a batter in the opening inning, leading to four Joliet runs. NWI had a quick response with two in the bottom of the first, setting the tone on a high-scoring evening.
Jake Plastiak (Wabash Valley / Tinley Park, Ill.) had a two-out single that tied the game at four in the fourth, but a three-run fifth put the Generals right back in front. The lead expanded back to four in the sixth when Devin Buckner led off with a home run that made it 8-4.
The Oilmen had their chances late, but Joliet hung on by a thread for the victory. There was a bizarre stretch where 13 straight Oilmen came to the plate with nobody putting the ball in play, as Joliet pitcher Jordan Baker issued seven walks and struck out six in that stretch of batters spanning from the sixth to the eighth.
“We weren’t selective enough,” Tyrrell said. “We took a lot of walks, but we were still swinging at bad pitches and were anxious early on fastballs and early on off-speed pitches. There was no reason to cheat, but it’s hard to be patient when you’ve got guys on base in tight situations. Everybody wants to be a hero, so staying within yourself is a difficult task. We weren’t up to it tonight, so hopefully we’re back tomorrow.”
It briefly appeared that the Oilmen had tied the game at eight in the eighth, but a runner who had scored on a fielder’s choice bouncer was sent back to third as the first base bag had become dislodged, causing a dead ball before the runner advanced to the plate.
“We had several more baserunners after that, so that’s not the play that beat us,” Tyrrell said. “It was the four-run first, the three-run fifth and the inability to throw strikes and get the timely hit that cost us. That’s baseball.”
The Oilmen (19-17) and Generals (13-15) will go at it again on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen are now tied for third with DuPage County, while fifth-place Joliet is only two games behind. The Oilmen are just two games in back of a first-place tie between Bloomington and Southland in the tightly-packed MCL standings. For those who can’t make it to the ballpark on Wednesday, Brandon Vickrey and Sam Oppenheim will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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