Oilmen rally falls short in loss to CrackerJacks
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent June 6, 2012 11:46PM
Updated: June 6, 2012 11:54PM
WHITING — Coming back from a three-run deficit is one thing. But a 10-run deficit was too tall of a mountain for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen to climb, as they dropped a 12-9 decision to the Will County CrackerJacks.
One night after a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Oilmen (3-2) again fell behind early, as NWI starter Joey Eichmann gave up two runs in the first inning. In the fifth, with reliever Nik Mason on the mound, eight straight Will County (2-1) hitters reached base and later scored — all of those runs being charged to Mason, who did not record an out. After that half-inning, NWI trailed 10-0.
But the Oilmen started to battle back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Billy Miller, the hero of Tuesday’s game, connected on an RBI single that scored Elliot Bajda. After a scoreless top half of the sixth inning, the Oilmen tagged Will County starter Michael Oczypok for two quick singles to start the bottom of the inning, chasing Oczypok from the game.
From there, the Will County bullpen allowed those two runners to score, followed by four others, and the Oilmen suddenly were very much alive in a 10-7 game.
Two more Oilmen runs crossed in the seventh inning, cutting the deficit to one. Craig Austgen nearly gave the Oilmen the lead, but his shot deep down the left field line with two men on landed just foul. He and Hunter Pruitt each struck out, leaving the tying run on second and the go-ahead run on first.
The Oilmen would get no closer.
Will County extended their lead in the eighth inning, thanks to an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Shaun McGraw. Then in the top of the ninth inning, Paul DeJong drew a leadoff walk and later scored after two more Will County singles for the final run of the game.