Oilmen fall to Southland in 10 innings
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent June 22, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: July 24, 2012 9:54AM
WHITING — “You can only come back so many times,” said Northwest Indiana Oilmen manager Justin Huisman.
After winning three games in come-from-behind fashion this season, the Oilmen’s luck finally ran out in an 8-7 extra-innings loss to the Southland Vikings — the Oilmen’s first loss in five matchups with the Vikings.
“For six innings, we were playing good baseball,” Huisman said. “But then we started making some mistakes and we not only let them back in the game, we let them take the lead. They deserved that game because they played better baseball than us late in the game.”
NWI led 5-3 heading into the eighth inning before Southland added a run in the eighth to cut the lead in half. In the ninth, two hits, a sacrifice bunt and a Bennett Oliver throwing error helped the Vikings take a 6-5 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Jon Loeffler’s double off of the left-field wall plated Chris Rudenga, who was pinch-running for Billy Miller after he drew a leadoff walk. With the game-winning run at second base, Craig Austgen lined out hard to left. Cody Dykema, who was pinch-running for Loeffler, was also thrown out on the play after straying too far from second base on the fly ball — ending a potential game-winning rally.
Southland’s offense kept rolling in the 10th, adding two more runs on three hits. The Oilmen cut the Vikings’ lead to one in the bottom of the 10th when Oliver’s double scored Elliot Bajda. But in the next at-bat, Chris Rudenga grounded out to third base, stranding Oliver at second to end the game.
“The sloppy play cost us this game,” said Huisman. “But it’s not something you can dwell on. We’ll just need to clean this up and come back ready to start a new streak tomorrow.”