By: Brandon Vickrey
Chicago – Aug. 6, 2019 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will face a must-win game on Wednesday night at Oil City Stadium.
The Oilmen dropped Game 1 of the best-of-three MCL Semifinal Series 9-6 to host Southland on Tuesday evening at St. Rita.
Oilmen pitcher Jordan Petty (Trinity Christian College / Highland, Ind.) took the defeat in a game where he was hurt by misplayed balls by the Oilmen defense. He allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits while walking three and striking out three.
“The big inning for the Vikings started with an error, and a couple more were made,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “Petty has had trouble pounding the zone this season, but he did a magnificent job of that tonight. In the first inning, we misplayed some balls and gave them five outs. He kept throwing strikes and was fantastic. He deserved better behind him, but his performance was his best of the year. Southland is a really good team.”
Southland scored twice in the first and then grabbed some separation with a five-run fifth that made it 7-0, but the Oilmen fought back into the game with two in the sixth. Patrick Doran (College of DuPage / Evergreen Park, Ill.) drilled a three-run bomb in the top of the seventh that put the game’s outcome very much in question by cutting the Southland edge to 8-5.
“Pat has been really long and loud with his mechanics the last couple of games,” Tyrrell said. “He quieted it down when he had two stirkes in his first at-bat and used his hands. He made that breakthrough on his own. He’s going to stay with that approach, and I’m going to move him up in the order to make sure he gets more ABs. He’s seeing the ball great.”
Southland starter Jake Ruppert earned the victory after yielding two runs on eight hits in six frames. When the Oilmen cut the deficit to three against the Southland bullpen, manager Dave Letourneau turned to Mike Tobin, who nailed down the save by allowing one run (none earned) on two hits and no walks in 2 ⅔ innings.
“We’ve still got a good approach at the plate, but their starter did a good job keeping us off balance,” Tyrrell said. “Tobin came in and he’s done a great job against us and everybody all year. We had our opportunities, but they made some nice plays defensively.”
Michael Bolton (Purdue / Calumet City, Ill.) and Doran finished with three hits apiece to pace the Oilmen offense.
The second game of the series will begin at 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday night at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen must win to force a decisive third game, while the Vikings can clinch a spot in the MCL Championship Series with a triumph. For those who cannot attend, Brandon Vickrey and Will Trubshaw will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network.
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