By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – Aug. 3, 2019 – For the second time in three nights, an evening of baseball at Oil City Stadium ended with Gabe Pulido (South Suburban / Griffith, Ind.) being mobbed by his teammates.
Pulido provided his second walk-off RBI in a three-game span, this time ripping one off the scoreboard in left to help the Northwest Indiana Oilmen walk off with a 7-6 victory over the Crestwood Panthers on Saturday.
“The team loves it and so does Gabe,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “He didn’t have confidence early in the game, and he said he wasn’t feeling confident at the plate. Even in his last at-bat, he took a fastball right down the middle, and then he got new life when they misplayed a foul ball. He relaxed and hit that ball hard. We needed that badly, so it was good to see.”
With a rash of injuries and Tyrrell attempting to rest his top arms for the postseason, the Oilmen turned to two newcomers on the mound. Joel Holtcamp (Lee University / Andrean) exited due to an injury with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third. That forced Tommy Louch (College of DuPage / Lockport, Ill.) into duty earlier than anticipated, and the right-hander came through with seven innings of two-run, six-hit ball while striking out five and walking two. He earned the win in his Oilmen debut.
“That’s Tommy’s m.o. – working efficiently and making them swing the bats,” Tyrrell said. “He did everything we needed tonight. Joel took a line drive off the thigh and couldn’t continue, so Tommy came on with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third instead of pitching the final three innings.”
The Panthers (11-28) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the opening inning, but the Oilmen responded with four in the second. Cole Cervantes (North Central / Griffith, Ind.) sent a soft line drive to right that tied the game on a two-run single in his first plate appearance with the team. Clay Thompson (Kankakee / Schererville, Ind.) then ripped a two-run double in his first trip to the plate since Sunday after being sidelined most of the week with a back injury. That was the first of two doubles in the game for Thompson.
Crestwood went back ahead with two runs in the fourth, but the Oilmen got one back in the fifth before tying the game in the seventh. Brandon Petkoff (Texas A&M Corpus Christi / Frankfort, Ill.) drilled a triple to lead off the seventh, then scored on a sac fly to tie the game at six. That set up Pulido’s heroics as he connected on a missal that hit high off the tall scoreboard in left.
The Oilmen (22-18) nailed down third place in the MCL standings with the victory. They will close out the regular season on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. against the DuPage County Hounds on Fan Appreciation Day at Oil City Stadium. For those who can’t make it out, Brandon Vickrey and Blake Toman will call the action on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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