Oilmen waste monster rally in loss to Will County
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent June 27, 2012 11:00PM
Updated: July 29, 2012 5:18PM
WHITING — On multiple occasions, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen were one strike away from their most unbelievable comeback this season.
Instead, they were left with a 14-13 defeat at the hands of the Will County CrackerJacks.
Four runs by Will County in the ninth inning capped a wild, back-and-forth affair between the MCL South Division’s top two teams.
“I’ve seen a lot … I think I’d put a lot of them out of my memory. Tonight’s game was just sloppy,” said Oilmen manager Justin Huisman.
After one inning, the Oilmen (14-7) led 3-0, thanks in large part to a two-run triple by Billy Miller.
The game’s fortunes flipped in the second inning, as the Oilmen committed five errors in a seven-run inning for the CrackerJacks (14-6).
“That was one of the worst innings that I’ve ever been a part of,” Huisman said of the second inning. “We spotted them pretty close to 10 runs.”
A three-run homer by Michael Vilardo in the third inning put Will County ahead 10-3. Then, the Oilmen comeback started.
NWI grabbed two runs in the fourth inning. Then, in the sixth, Brandon Krieg hit a grand slam— the first home run by an NWI hitter at Oil City Stadium.
Three batters later, John Livingston’s solo shot tied the game at 10-10.
The Oilmen added two more runs in the seventh inning and one more in the eighth put the Oilmen ahead 13-10 and, apparently, ready for a victory.
“I just told the guys to keep their focus out there, and to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Huisman said. “And that’s what we’re capable of when they start doing that.”
But Will County smashed out five hits in the ninth inning, scoring four runs. Jacob Thomas single, coupled with the Oilmen’s sixth error of the game, plated the 14th and final Will County run.