08/06/2016 9:53 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – Aug. 6, 2016 – It seems only fitting that a championship series involving the Midwest Collegiate League’s most competitive rivalry would require the distance to decide.
The DuPage County Hounds sent the best-of-three set to a decisive game with a 5-3 win over the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium. The Midwest Collegiate League title will be determined in Game 3 on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Joliet Junior College.
The Hounds got the last laugh in Saturday’s back-and-forth affair when Brandon Post tripled and came in to score on a throwing error to give the Hounds a 5-3 lead in the eighth.
“Both teams hit a lot of balls hard, a lot of line drives at outfielders,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “They just had one more in a crucial spot where they got a ball down the line with some top spin that didn’t hang up and was hit in a good spot.”
The Oilmen had tied the game at three on a towering solo home run that was just fair down the left-field line by Chase Fieldhouse (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.) in the fourth. After that long ball, the Oilmen offense went stagnant.
“Us not scoring in the last five innings of the game was 100 percent the tale of the tape,” Enright said. “If we get to that magic number of six runs, we usually win. We usually lose when we don’t get to six.”
DuPage County lefty Joey Roberson got better as the game went on, and eventually earned the win with a 128-pitch complete game. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out six and walking three.
“He was able to explore the zone and hit some spots and show the umpire that he was going to throw it to those spots at will,” Enright said. “He continued to inch out and try to chip away at the zone and try to expand it. If you’re consistently throwing it where you want to at any level, you’re usually going to get those calls.”
Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) was effective on three days of rest, scattering 10 hits and yielding five runs (four earned) in 7 2/3 innings. He did not issue any walks and struck out three.
“He was great,” Enright said. “He was giving up a lot of hard hit balls with two strikes in the first two innings. If you see a guy struggling to make contact with a pitch, just stay with it. When we started to do that a little more and go with what pitches would get the results we wanted, that’s when he got better.”
The two teams exchanged first-inning runs, with Northwest Indiana’s coming on a double by Stefano Belmonte (Florida Gulf Coast / Munster, Ind.). The Oilmen went ahead in the second when Jake Perreira scooted across the dish on a fielder’s choice bouncer by Marshawn Taylor.
Matt Botcher collected three hits to lead the Hounds, while Tyler Tesmond and Dustin Krob chipped in two apiece.
Since the Lemont Sports Complex is unavailable, Sunday’s game will be played at Wayne L. King Junior Field, normally the home of the Joliet Admirals. The first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. with pregame beginning at 12:40 on AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM and NWIOilmen.com.
“I think it’s going to be tough on both teams to play a late, exciting game and bounce back with the same type of focus and intensity for a day game,” Enright said. “Whoever has more of those two things is probably going to win.”