Oilmen rally in ninth for victory
WHITING — Even by NWI Oilmen standards, this comeback was astonishing.
Down 4-2 heading into the ninth inning, an inexplicable series of events unfolded to lead the Oilmen to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory.
“Every coach wants to expect it, but I didn’t expect it, especially with the way we were hitting the ball and the way (Southland closer Anthony Andres) threw against us last night,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “Any time you get that leadoff guy on base, you can make things happen.”
The rally started when No. 9 hitter Anthony Bova took a pitch off his right leg to earn a trip to first base.
“It doesn’t matter how you do it at that point; anything you can do to get on base,” said Bova, who plated the Oilmen’s first two runs with a single in the sixth. “If a pitch is coming at you; you have to wear it.”
Andres attempted to erase his mistake with a pickoff move to first, but the throw went wide, allowing Bova to reach third. Andres made matters worse by walking the next batter — Oilmen leadoff man Jack Czeszewski — then balked to score one run and move the game-tying run into scoring position.
“(Andres) has a pretty good move. He picked off (Joe) Houlihan on Monday night to put us away and we knew he was going to try and do it again,” Huisman said. “I wasn’t going to put on anything too aggressive because I didn’t want Bova to get picked off.”
Houlihan was up next and he bunted back to Andres, who quickly fired to third, hoping to catch Czeszewski. But the throw again was offline, allowing Czeszewski to score and putting Houlihan on second base.
Leiff Clarkson’s high chopper to shortstop resulted in the first out of the inning but moved Houlihan to third. After Tyler Baar’s sharp grounder to second notched the second out of the inning, Nick Bartolone smacked a single through the right side of the infield to bring home the game-winning run.