07/02/2015 9:21 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 2, 2015 – It certainly wasn’t the hardest hit ball of the night, but a ninth-inning dribbler to first base off the bat of Zack Jones made all the difference on Thursday.
The Hounds seemed to panic on the ground ball, which came with two outs and the winning run at third. Jones reached safely as Fred Smart crossed the plate, completing a come-from-behind 4-3 victory for the Oilmen.
“Well, I can’t say the exact words,” Jones said when asked about his reaction to the game-winning hit. “I was kicking myself and all the sudden I slide into first and we win. I was shocked that dink hit won the game.”
The Hounds led 3-2 going to the bottom of the ninth inning. Noah Masa came on to attempt to nail down the save, and appeared to be in good shape after Stefano Belmonte grounded out to third for the first out. Then, Joe Jumonville singled, Smart was hit by a pitch and Jordan Lewis ripped a single to load the bags. Brian Seymour’s grounder to second plated the tying run.
Masa was hit with the loss to drop to 2-2.
Jones was inserted into the game as a pinch batter in the seventh inning in place of designated hitter Donovan Chandler.
“I guess there’s a little bias there because he plays for me at Trinity and he was a middle of the lineup guy there,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “(On Wednesday) we had him in the three hole because he’s been hitting really well. It was a good situation to get him in the game late because Donovan Chandler’s been struggling a little bit at the plate.”
Enrique Zamora threw the first nine-inning complete game by an Oilmen pitcher since June 14, 2013, when Michael Steensen went the distance in a 9-0 win over the Zephyrs. Zamora allowed three runs on eight hits while issuing two walks and striking out eight.
“He only threw 117 pitches and he’s on nine days rest,” Enright said. “That’s not that high of a number. Most of our guys throw 100 and they go six or seven innings. He was looking better and better every inning and he showed no signs of fatigue.”
Zamora notched the win to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Smart went 2-for-2, ripping a triple to lead off the fifth that set up the first of two RBI grounders to second base by Seymour. Smart contributed to every Oilmen run, as he lifted a sacrifice fly in the second inning and also scored the winning tally in the ninth.
“The guys come up and they just want to win every day, which has been a breath of fresh air this year,” Enright said. “Not the fireworks of a line-drive base hit, but the guys are happy that we won, and we’ll take it.”
The victory allowed the Oilmen (14-6) to regain sole possession of first place, as they now lead the Hounds (13-7) by one game in the MCL standings.
The Oilmen hit the road for the first time since June 21 as they trek to High Desert Field to meet the Snipes on Friday. The game begins at 5 p.m. with live audio available on NWIOilmen.
The Oilmen will be right back home on Saturday for a 1 p.m. start against the Michigan City Lakers. All tickets are $4 to celebrate the Fourth of July at Oil City Stadium.